Pediatric physiotherapist Yvonne Frizzell had no idea that her life would change when she moved to Pakistan with her husband in 1984. Having trained from Royal London Hospital, Frizzell was just on an adventurous shift but very soon she found a meaning to her life. She decided to dedicate her life to treating people diagnosed with cerebral palsy in Pakistan.
Frizzell’s first encounter with cerebral palsy in the country was with two-year old Akbar Saifullah Khan. Now a 38-year old man, Khan owes his life to Frizzell. Back in the 80s and 90s, there were no expertise or equipments to deal with cerebral palsy in Pakistan. Frizzell was a ray of hope for Khan. She took up the charge to treat him and give him a better future.
Even when Frizzell moved to Ireland in 1990, Khan went with her and studied at a school there for 13 years. When Khan was moving back to his nation, his mother shot an idea to Frizzell to open a charitable institute to help cerebral palsy patients in Pakistan. Frizzell jumped in excitement at the idea.
Today, Frizzell is the clinical head of the Akbar Kare Institute (AKI) which was founded in 2005. Located in the posh residential area of University Town, Peshawar, AKI operates eight hours a day, for six days a week and already has 7,000 patients registered.
“We give new life to the young patients of cerebral palsy and make them stand on their own feet”, says Frizzell. “Nobody understands that even the smallest thing you can do for a child will make a huge difference to their family,” she adds.
What is Cerebral Palsy?
Cerebral palsy is a group of neurological disorders that appear in early childhood. It has a permanent effect on body movement, muscle coordination and balance. Symptoms of cerebral palsy are lack of muscle coordination when performing voluntary movements (ataxia); stiff or tight muscles and exaggerated reflexes (spasticity); walking with one foot or leg dragging; walking on the toes, a crouched gait, or a “scissored” gait; and muscle tone that is either too stiff or too floppy. Other neurological symptoms include seizures, hearing loss and impaired vision, bladder and bowel control issues, and pain and abnormal sensations.
(All Photo Source: akbarkare.com)