Irene Julie Brooks
PHILIPSBURG–A heartfelt donation in observance of Father’s Day 2018 has been provided by businessman and community activist Terry Peterson to seventeen-year old Irene Julie Brooks to assist her in obtaining a fully automated stairlift for her home in Belvedere.
Irene, a teen with an infectious smile who attends Sister Basilica Centre for special-needs children, was born with cerebral palsy, a disorder that affects muscle tone, movement, and the ability to move in a coordinated and purposeful way. Cerebral palsy is usually caused by brain damage that happens before or during a baby’s birth, or during the first three to five years of a child’s life.
“I met Irene while visiting the Sister Basilica Centre and homes in the Belvedere community with Esthica Cannegieter, and I was moved to tears to see her discomfort in how she had basically outgrown her wheelchair, and how her adopted mom (unemployed at the time) had to struggle to carry her up and down the narrow stairs to her room.
“I promised them that I would do all I can to help her with some automated assistive technologies to help make their life less stressful. Although, it took some time due to Irma, we are closer to adding some sunshine to their lives,” said Peterson on Sunday.
He said he had already performed some preliminary quick scans with specialised companies such as Ameriglide and Acorn for a suitable stair lift. The family will also be engaging St. Maarten Housing Foundation and the appropriate government ministries for the necessary approvals to see how this can become a reality as quickly as possible.
Peterson, through Together We Can Foundation, has often championed the need for more assistive technologies for the physically challenged. Assistive technologies play a vital role in improving the quality of life of people with disabilities with any item, piece of equipment or product used to increase, maintain, or improve their functional capabilities.
“I know there are many more like Irene in our community, and despite our recent setbacks and challenges we must continue to empower and assist our St. Maarten special-needs children with the tools to communicate, hear, write, and perform their daily activities with greater independence and with auto-powered mobility,” said Peterson.
Anyone who would like to join in supporting this venture or making a donation directly to Irene can contact her legal guardian Germaine Brooks, tel. 721-553-0577, or Gigi Brooks on Facebook.