Jonnel Enorme, world-class iceskater, age 23, born with cerebral palsyFrom afar, he moves like a swan on the lake that is why it is not surprising how he bagged three of the 90 gold medals at the recently held World Recreational Ice Skating Championship.
Jonnel Enorme, 23, is the country’s most unique ice skater. In fact, he is the only special ice skater in the country. He is suffering from cerebral palsy. He was born when his mother was only seven months pregnant. He was only as big as a corn when he was born. Because of his unusual state, his mother didn’t inform his father, a seafarer, about their son’s real condition.
He could barely stand up until he was eight. For many years, Jonnel can only speak gibberish words; he cannot mingle with kids his age. Taking care of a child like him needs a lot of time and patience. His mother, Elena, had to resign from her work to be with the company of her only son most of the time. His parents’ dream of having two more babies was sacrificed so they could attend to the needs of their special child.
To make him do what other normal kids could was not an easy task for his mother. She had to improvise some ways. She massaged his limbs with coconut oil, which is believed to make the limbs stronger. She fastened a belt around his waste and attached it to a high post just to be able to pull him up and force him to walk – a principle similar to what a normal kid does to a walker. She brought him to the shorelines of Iloilo and allowed his legs to touch the sand because according to a Visayan cultural belief, sand could make the muscles strong. Even if Jonnel always fell, his mother was determined to make him walk and do the chores of a normal person. In fact, even if he was more than 10 years old, his mother still had to carry him when they had to go to different places. There were people who pitied her and even offered to carry him.
But faith, hardwork and patience made all of her dreams come true.
When Jonnel was finally able to walk, he and his mother went to SM Southmall often. The mall’s ice-skating rink became his favorite place. He marveled at the skaters who danced on ice.
If making him walk was a difficult task for Elena, making him skate on the ice was the opposite. At 16, his mother enrolled him at a one-on-one ice skating session.
He had a strong determination, something that most ordinary people don’t have. According to his coach, he never complained and always stood up when he fell. In a way, he made his disadvantage – the inability to feel pain, work for his advantage. And because of his work ethic and incredible discipline on top of the slippery ice, SM selected him as one of the skaters who would compose the team that would represent the Philippines in the Skate Asia 2002 competition in Bangkok, Thailand.
In the venue of the contest, nobody knew he was special. The people watched in awe how the twenty-three year old dashed through the ice as if he was a swan moving on the lake. And when he finished his performance, most of the people gave him a standing ovation – an act that gave her mother an overwhelming amount of joy.
Her mother admitted that taking care of a person like Jonnel is not cheap. Last year, his parents tapped almost all of their savings just to be able to send him to an event hosted by one of the premier organizers of ice skating, the Skating Institute of America. But for them, spending a great amount of money for travel expenses is nothing when seeing their child who could barely stand on his feet at the age of eight, is now showing the world the fruits of his parents’ labor and his strong determination to face and conquer the challenges of life.
Jonnel Enorme a world-class athlete and pillar of strength and determination, truly a Global Pinoy!
-- source: http://www.globalpinoy.com/globalpinoys/globalpinoys.php -- via: Proud and Talented Pinay's blog