Shemiah was born with a rare disease Ska-Fo-Sey-Fally, a condition in which the head is disproportionately long and narrow.  At first Shemiah gave all appearances of being a healthy baby. He was carried to full term and weighed 6 pounds, 3 ounces. He boasted a full head of hair.  A haircut revealed his misshapen skull, and the realization that something was terribly wrong with their baby.  Shemiah’s doctor immediately sent him to a specialist, who then referred the family to Miami Children’s Hospital. 

The diagnosis: Ska-Fo-Sey-Fally.  Shemiah underwent corrective brain surgery at the age of 2, and has completed several other rounds of surgery. Since the initial surgery, Shemiah, has been more talkative and active and he attends speech therapy to further his progress.  Though acticity is somewhat restricted, he and  brother Abishai are partners in adventure.

Shemiah’s illness disabled this family

Shemiah’s father, works in the kitchen at a local restaurant, however, his paycheck barely kept the family afloat. He and his wife shared a single car that provided transportation to work, Shemiah to testing facilities in Miami and both boys to preschool. Shemiah’s mother was unable to work because Shemiah’s condition required regular visits to various doctors.

Opportunity is a village

Through collaboration with other organizations the family was provide support to work through the obstacles of medical expenses, child care, transportation and other basic needs. Through the Palm Beach Post Season to Share Program, a used car was purchased to facilitate the frequent trips to Miami Children’s hospital.  Shemiah was provided a one-year scholarship and the family received support to acquire a special bed for Shemiah.

Today Shemiah is a healthy five-year old 

Shemiah graduated from Opportunity Early Learning Center in May 2013.  He is enrolled and well prepared to enter Kindergarten. 

His parents have bounced back.  Mom is working and Opportunity was able to facilitate stability in the home while the family worked through the medical and financial hardships.