To fully understand the reasoning behind the launch of Elijah’s Hope, Founder Kaddy Thomas explains how he became her inspiration to help others. Here is her touching story.
Both Kaddy and Elijah suffer from Apert Syndrome, a rare genetic condition, which although Kaddy is able to lead a fairly normal life, Elijah requires full time care.
Kaddy’s life was a rollercoaster from birth having been labelled mentally retarded, which at the age of one resulted in her Mother placing her in care. She spent eight years of her life in a residential children’s home for the severely disabled and for two of those years she was placed in a hospital for the mentally handicapped. It was a matron who soon realised Kaddy had been misdiagnosed and she was released aged nine into a mainstream children’s home with a view to be being adopted. Sadly, her fate for a better life was quashed after being sexually abused by a foster carer and she ran away before being placed into emergency care. At 17 years old she was placed in a council flat to live independently and life finally took a turn for the better when her son Elijah was born.
“Being rejected at birth by my mother stayed with me until Jesus healed me, so when I became pregnant with my son he became my primary focus and I thought my child is very much wanted and loved. I knew my condition was hereditary but to me Elijah is one of the best things that ever happened to me, so I was having him no matter what. He used to be able to sit up, talk and play independently but his life changed for the worst when he developed severe brain damage at the age of one.
I spent months of my life on an emotional rollercoaster, with so many unanswered questions trying to come to terms with what had happened. Elijah used to sit up and natter but now he is unable to move or respond.
We spent a year at the Children’s Trust in Tadworth undergoing rehabilitation before moving to North Somerset in 2009. I became involved with the North Somerset Parents Forum for a while and then set up a parents luncheon club in Weston-super-Mare in 2011, but I could not self-fund it long term.
Elijah’s health has deteriorated further with several months of 2013 spent between Frenchay and Bristol Children’s Hospital, where he developed a Clostridium Difficile infection – a type of bacterial infection that can affect the digestive system. He later developed a chest infection and at one point was admitted to intensive care.
Despite 2013 being the most horrendous year I decided to use my experiences to help others. Even after everything Elijah has been through he’s happy, content and no matter what is thrown at him he bounces back. He is my inspiration and the reason I want to help people. There are others out there who are going through the same ordeal or worse situation than me. I want to support and empower people with disability and or ill health.
I’m Elijah’s mum and I’ve set this company up because I’m sick to death of the injustices in the disability world. When facing a serious health problem parents may feel lost in a world where they have lost the will to live, so I want to ensure families are well supported. I am offering tangible, practical support to families including helping them to discover what they are entitled to”.