He's special, able and moving people

He can't walk and can hardly talk.

But with help from his loved ones, Mr Kashif Edwards - who has a severe form of cerebral palsy - has started a movement to raise awareness about the disorder.

The movement, "I Am Speciable", also gives the 24-year-old a chance to support himself by raising money through T-shirt sales.

"Speciable" is a term his family created to combine the meaning of "special" and "able". The wheelchair-bound Mr Edwards started the movement on Facebook in March with help from his relatives.

It has since gathered more than 560 "likes".

Cerebral palsy is caused by a brain injury that occurs before or during birth and comes in different forms.

People with this condition have severely impaired muscle movement and motor skills.

Mr Edwards, who suffers from spastic cerebral palsy, promoted his movement last month by distributing stickers highlighting his I Am Speciable Movement Facebook page at Orchard Road.

Visitors of the site can order an "I Am Speciable" T-shirt, which costs $20. The proceeds will be used to support Mr Edwards and a portion will be donated to the Spastic Children's Association of Singapore (SCAS).

When The New Paper visited the Holland Close four-room flat where Mr Edwards lives with his parents and younger sister, he struggled to speak but managed to greet us.

Independence

Independence

He said he has always wanted to be independent and raise awareness about cerebral palsy, and is happy for the support he gets from family and friends.

But his parents, who support his campaign, had initial doubts about whether he could fulfil his ambitions.

When he was one, they were distraught when he was diagnosed with the disorder, but hoped he could still lead a normal life until he was three.

When it became clear that he could not recover, they enrolled him in Margaret Drive Special School. When he was seven, he was transferred to SCAS and took part in its programmes until he turned 18.

His mother, Madam Hashimah Hamidon, 49, a part-time actress, said her family coped well with his condition with help from relatives and friends. And the maids who have been taking care of him over the years.

Madam Hashimah was unaware that her son had wanted to make a difference.

She said: "He has a severe case of cerebral palsy. He finds it difficult to talk and can't even move around without help.

"So I never suspected that he had dreams of raising awareness about the disorder or being independent."

But things changed three years ago when Mr Edwards saw a wheelchair-bound man selling tissue packets near his block.

He told his mother that he also wanted to sell tissue packets to earn a living.

Unconvinced

Unconvinced

She and her husband, Mr Rafael Edwards, 53, a customer service manager, were not convinced initially.

Madam Hashimah said: "My husband and I didn't take him seriously then. It was only at the start of this year when he told us about his ambitions again that we decided to support him.

"I'm very proud of my son because he really wants to help people with his condition and support himself."

Mr Edwards' sister, Keisha, said many of her friends know her brother and support him.

The 14-year-old student added: "My friends will volunteer for any event to raise awareness for my brother's movement because they like him."

Tomorrow morning, 50 family members and friends of Mr Edwards who support the "I Am Speciable" movement will cycle from East Coast Park to Changi Village while wearing the T-shirt of the movement.

edenis@sph.com.sg

This article was first published in The New Paper .

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