Chante' Promise is my daughter. She is eight years old, and is the joy of my world.
My name is Erydu Otumbwa. I have two other children besides Chante': six-year-old Ricardo Quinton and four-year-old Kenya Africa; however it is Chante's story I am sharing with you here.
Chante' was born seemingly okay; however, a few days later, doctors became concerned that she may have had sustained brain damage: she wasn't tracking with her eyes, and her movements seemed stilted, jerky somehow. It was at the age of one year when she was diagnosed with having cerebral palsy.
The kind of cerebral palsy she has affects her entire body. She cannot speak, but her face, eyes speak volumes: she is very adept at making her feelings, desires, wants known to people. She is spastic in nature; she will probably never walk. She has always been in a wheelchair.
Because of her CP, Chante' cannot feed herself or do much for herself; yet even with the serious nature of her disability, she is not stupid, not by a long shot. She is very smart; so smart, in fact, she has been placed in the gifted class at her school! She can read books geared for older readers, and she can write by using a pointer device she wears strapped around her head; she strikes the keys of her computer with her pointer to type/write, or even draw. She can use a computer better than most able-bodied adults!
Chante' loves to swim; in the water, she can move her body without any difficulty; it is here where she feels free. Of course, someone has to be with her at all times, so she doesn't slip (or possibly drown), but she loves to swim with the other children in her class.
Chante' loves to "dance". She loves Miley Cyrus and Will.i.am most of all (another main love she has is Usher); she knows all their songs by heart. She will "sing" along with gusto; she has had the chance to see many of her favorite singers in concert, and the stars absolutely love her. I can see why: Chante' is a child with a megawatt personality.
Ricardo and Kenya don't care that their sister is handicapped: they think her wheelchair is cool, and they love the attention that she brings; when people see Chante', they also notice Kenya and Ricardo, and they eat it all up. They do get sad sometimes that she can't walk or talk, but they love playing with her just the same; to them, her disabilities don't matter, which is the way it should be.
Well, Kenya is crying, so I must see what is going on. I will write in here again another day with more stories about not only Chante', but Kenya and Ricardo as well; I could write an entire book with stories about our family! Until later, this is Erydu Otumbwa signing off; take care and may God bless you always!
~Love, your new friend in Ocala, Florida, Erydu Elaine Otumbwa, mom to Chante', Ricardo, and Kenya. :)