ALEX LAW­SON: Phys­io­ther­a­pist in the mak­ing

Jamaica Gleaner - - NEWS -

IN THE ad­mit­tedly tough ur­ban com­mu­nity of Wood­ford Park, All­man Town, the fore­cast for the fu­ture is often grim, es­pe­cially for young boys, and even more so for those with­out a fa­ther. Alex Law­son did, how­ever, have one thing in his favour: a lov­ing but firm grand­mother.

“I lost my fa­ther when I was just six years old, and at that time, my grand­mother stepped in to be my fa­ther,” he re­calls. Even though Grandma would her­self de­part this life six years later, by then, a rea­son­ably solid foun­da­tion had been set, one that would be tested by hard times in sec­ondary school, be­ing raised by his mother.

“Be­ing a sin­gle-par­ent house­hold was ex­tremely dif­fi­cult as some­times, when we needed text­books for school, Mommy didn’t have the funds, so I had to get cre­ative. That cre­ativ­ity in­cluded bor­row­ing a friend’s book and writ­ing out the con­tent.”

NEVER HAD TO GO WITH­OUT FOOD

Thank­fully, though, one sta­ple that Alex and his younger brother never had to go with­out was food. “My mother en­sured that my younger brother and my­self were never hun­gry. Mom also did her best to sup­port and en­cour­age her charges to­wards greater achieve­ment.”

With that base, his high-school days at the ven­er­a­ble Wolmer’s Trust High For Boys were un­for­get­table, al­beit marked by strug­gle. “I miss high school. It was one of the most dy­namic pe­ri­ods of my life, and it helped to shape me to be the per­son I am today. It was rough and tir­ing. How­ever, the re­sults were worth it.”

Those re­sults were ar­du­ously gained through the try­ing of his faith. He re­calls the piv­otal time of the Caribbean Sec­ondary Ed­u­ca­tion Cer­tifi­cate (CSEC) ex­ams and the clear lack of funds to pay for those exam sub­jects and putting his best foot for­ward. “It was then my faith was put to the test, and I said that the Lord didn’t carry me this far to leave me, and I left it to the Lord, and He pro­vided.”

He re­calls that Car­lette Faloon helped him “in ev­ery sin­gle way pos­si­ble” in the last three years of high school. Again, with sup­port, Alex dis­played his po­ten­tial.

“I did ex­cep­tion­ally well, main­tain­ing an av­er­age of a min­i­mum of 80 per cent through­out my en­tire high­school life. I was con­sis­tently in the top three per cent of my year group; this re­sulted in me be­ing placed fifth in­ter­nally for my CSEC ex­am­i­na­tions.”

CB GROUP/UWI SCHOL­AR­SHIP RE­CIP­I­ENT

The star per­for­mances fol­lowed him to the next level with six grade twos and two grade threes in the Caribbean Ad­vanced Pro­fi­ciency Ex­am­i­na­tions, all done while an­other pas­sion was draw­ing him. “I did all that while be­ing in­volved in mu­sic ed­u­ca­tion, start­ing the Wolmer’s Boys Cham­ber Or­ches­tra and be­ing in­te­gral in the choir.”

And that wasn’t all. Alex also threw him­self into ex­tracur­ric­u­lar ac­tiv­i­ties, log­ging time with the Stu­dents’ Coun­cil, Oc­tagon Club, Culi­nary Club, the Key Club and be­ing a pre­fect.

De­spite his ob­vi­ous mul­ti­ple tal­ents, be­com­ing a phys­io­ther­a­pist is very near and dear to his heart. The rea­son for that takes us back in time to his last days with Grandma. “Be­fore she died, she broke her leg and had to un­dergo phys­i­cal ther­apy to re­ha­bil­i­tate her to be at op­ti­mum func­tion­al­ity. She also suf­fered from a mild stroke, which left her left arm im­mo­bile. How­ever, with the in­tense physio ses­sions, she was able to be func­tional again.”

And the stroke would not set­tle for just one mem­ber of the fam­ily as his mother also suf­fered, leav­ing her hands in­op­er­a­ble for a brief pe­riod. See­ing what phys­io­ther­a­pists were able to do with both women in im­prov­ing the qual­ity of their lives made him re­alise that this pro­fes­sion was his cho­sen path.

But the path to con­tin­u­ing his ter­tiary stud­ies at the Univer­sity of the West Indies (UWI) was fraught with tri­als, and Alex was soon faced with a po­ten­tially life-chang­ing and painful choice. “I was in class, and I just sat on the ground and cried af­ter I got the phone call. I would have had to vol­un­tar­ily leave the in­sti­tu­tion or ap­ply for a de­fer­ral and go work and try to get the funds in place then start at a later date.”

How­ever, through Faloon and the good work of the CB Group UWI Schol­ar­ship Fund placed in the name of Wolmer’s alum­nus Dou­glas Orane, the day was once again saved for him. He is among 27 schol­ar­ship re­cip­i­ents ben­e­fit­ing from the pro­ceeds of the CB Group UWI 5K Run, which this year will see its sev­enth edi­tion to­mor­row.

Alex Law­son (left), phys­io­ther­apy stu­dent at the Univer­sity of the West Indies, re­ceives the Dou­glas Orane/CB Group UWI Schol­ar­ship at the launch of the fundrais­ing 5k run last month. Hand­ing over the cheque are Dou­glas Orane, co-pa­tron of the event, and El­iz­a­beth BuchananHind, chair of the 5k event.

CON­TRIB­UTED

Alex Law­son dur­ing one of his mu­si­cal per­for­mances at his alma mater, the Wolmer’s Boys’ School.

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