Lucienne Haj Moussa is one of the hundreds of parents who has been reaping the benefits of the generosity of the Maltese people, which manifests itself every year, on boxing day, during L-Istrina, in aid of the Malta Community Chest Fund Foundation.
Her son Maleck, was diagnosed with Spastic Celebral Palsy at just one year. However, Lucienne told Bay that when she gave birth to Maleck, in her sixth month of pregnancy, doctors had told her that they thought Maleck would not in fact survive. It was only when she started noticing that his growth milestones were not the same as his peers, that Lucienne pushed for thorough tests to be carried out on Maleck, and that is when he was diagnosed.
Even though it was a shock at first, within a couple of months, she started to look at things in a positive light to able to continue making the most of the precious gift which she had been given, and those, who like me, are lucky enough to know Maleck, know exactly just how much of a treasure he is.
When Maleck was two, doctors told Lucienne that his disability will mean that Maleck will not be able to speak, “and now, at sixteen years of age, I find myself telling him to stop talking,” she tells us. Apart from that, Maleck has addressed both the Maltese Parliament, and has even spoken at many events at the European Parliament in Brussels, and attends school physically, and is aiming at a career in European Studies and Social Policy.
Lucienne tells us that the Malta Community Chest Fund has been assisting her from day one, providing for Maleck’s custom-made wheelchair, which he needs to change every three or four years, which cost around €18,000; specialised computer and computer peripherals; replacements of the wheelchair joystick; even with the replacement of batteries. Thanks to the generosity of the public, Lucienne was also able to purchase a special van which allows for her to transport Maleck freely, by keeping him in the wheelchair – not to mention to structural amendments which she had to carry out at her house, to ensure that Maleck really has the easiest life possible.
Lucienne told us that she had to stop working to provide full-time care for Maleck which sometimes even sees her going to school to adjust Maleck’s position in his chair.
Around two years ago, Lucienne was told that Maleck needed a major operation, which he successfully underwent this year, at Stanmore Hospital in the UK, where once again, the MCCF was vital to ensure that all the relevant expenses were covered. Lucienne told us that the operation was close to the lungs and was split in two operations, the first one lasting 4 hours and the other one, held the following day, lasting 9 hours. Thanks to these two lengthy operations, Maleck’s spine straightened by 90 degrees and his height increased by some 6 inches!
X-Rays of Maleck’s spine, before and after the operations in the UK
I asked Lucienne what she thinks of L-Istrina and her answer really hit home. “People should not donate because one day they might need assistance from the MCCF. People should donate because L-Istrina is the best investment ever. I used to donate regularly before I had Maleck and I never thought that 16 years down the line, I would be receiving regular assistance from the MCCF,” she said.
In fact, Maleck will continue receiving regular assistance forever, as this is not something that can be cured and Lucienne tells us that if there would not be L-Istrina, Maleck will end up confined to a bed, as she doesn’t afford to change the wheelchair every four years – which would either be for wear-and-tear reasons or simply because Maleck would be growing up.
L-Istrina returns this Boxing Day, 26th December from midday to midnight on all local TV channels. Your small donation can go a long way in making sure people like Lucienne and Maleck have peace of mind now, and in the future!