Adomba is a playful four-year-old who loves to ride his tricycle. But he did not always have this ability. Born prematurely in the African nation of Ghana, he moved with his parents to the United States to seek better care and opportunities for him.
Difficulty in walking independently and frequent falls led him to be referred to Dr. John Delahay for an orthopedic evaluation. Delahay is a well-respected orthopedic surgeon at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital in Washington D.C. and also the volunteer medical director of the Kiwanis Orthopedic Clinic, which provides care to children who do not have medical insurance or are from low-income families. Established in 1923 to help children recover from polio, the clinic now primarily functions through a grant from the Kiwanis Foundation of the District of Columbia. Its physical therapy and orthotic/prosthetic care provide support for Adomba and hundreds of other children annually.
After being diagnosed with a form of cerebral palsy that affects his lower extremities, Adomba was fitted with custom braces that better support his feet and ankles. He also began to work with the Kiwanis Orthopedic Clinic’s physical therapist on a weekly basis and diligently with his parents at home to continuously improve his flexibility and balance.
When Adomba started physical therapy, he was transported from the parking lot in a stroller. Today, he runs to the clinic to see “Auntie Missy,” a physical therapist who serves as the clinic’s executive director. Although he still needs help developing his balance and continues to use leg braces for support, he jumps around, climbs stairs, rides a tricycle and refuses to let his cerebral palsy slow him down.
Adomba’s father, Martin, looks forward to someday returning the favor of the great care his son has received from such a welcoming and supportive community.
“We believe that he has made improvements in his balance, gait (and that the care has) probably arrested further deformation of his feet,” Martin says. “We remain deeply indebted and grateful to Kiwanis for the invaluable assistance given to Adomba.” —Courtney Meyer