Run­ners in UAE unite for a great cause

Unity Run puts spot­light on spe­cial needs

7 Days in Dubai - - FRONT PAGE - By Shab­nam Bashiri @shab­nam_bashiri

To­mor­row, thou­sands of peo­ple are ex­pected to take part in the Unity Run to raise money for the Al Noor Cen­tre for Chil­dren with Spe­cial Needs.

The cen­tre teaches 250 chil­dren of 35 na­tion­al­i­ties, many with com­plex needs. It also sub­sidises fees for those that can­not pay the full amount, about Dhs70,000 per year.

The money raised will go to­wards plugging an an­nual fund­ing gap of about Dhs8 mil­lion.

Among the chil­dren that ben­e­fit from those sub­sidised places is Karl Den­ver Hicban, 11, who has cere­bral palsy due to a car ac­ci­dent while his mother, Car­ren, was preg­nant. She re­ceived in­juries that af­fected the de­vel­op­ment of her baby’s brain.

She said: “For the first few years it was re­ally dif­fi­cult for me be­cause I was re­ally, re­ally los­ing my hope.

“But the good thing, when I was still preg­nant with him, was that he was a healthy boy, so maybe if he wasn’t I may have lost my son be­cause of the im­pact of the ac­ci­dent.”

Car­ren said her son had ex­tremely lim­ited abil­ity un­til he found a place at the cen­tre. She said: “He’s not paral­ysed. But part of his body, his left side, is weak. When Karl was first ad­mit­ted to Al Noor Cen­tre, he was not able to sit, not even crawl.”

Car­ren said that due to Karl’s lack of move­ment dur­ing the first years of his life, he would be con­fined to watch­ing TV all day.

Karl was on the wait­ing list for two years be­fore he was ad­mit­ted to the Al Noor Cen­tre by the age of eight.

But now he has ac­cess to a host of ex­perts, in­clud­ing a speech ther­a­pist.

Car­ren said: “Be­fore, when you put him in a chair, he would fall. Now he doesn’t… even if only for few min­utes.”

One of Car­ren’s big­gest chal­lenges with Karl was in the way they com­mu­ni­cated.

HAPPY FAM­ILY: The Hicban fam­ily said Karl has im­proved hugely since he was given a dis­counted place at Al Noor

VA­RI­ETY: Pupils are taught a wide range of sub­jects in­clud­ing art

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