Curling Lawrence lost both legs during a mishap at his workplace in Brown’s Town, St. Ann, but he has not lost his spirit of perseverance.
He explained that, when he was 19 years old in 2006, he was standing in a mortar mixer while cleaning it at the block factory and marl quarry where he was employed.
Lawrence said someone ‘accidentally’ turned on the mortar mixer, resulting in his legs being crushed.
“When I went to the hospital, they had to amputate both my legs because of the extent of the damage,” he told The Beacon.
Lawrence was admitted to St. Ann’s Bay Regional Hospital for just over two months.
He still feels mild pain at times, he said. “I am not really feeling any great pain per se, but sometimes the nerves bother me a lot.”
Notwithstanding his physical limitations, Lawrence, who now lives alone, has managed to adapt to living without legs.
“I am surviving,” he said. “I have learnt to live without my legs. It affects me mentally, but I try not to think about it that much.”
One of Lawrence’s major struggles is to find meaningful employment, which would enable him to properly care for his two children.
He, using a wheelchair to get around, sometimes works with a friend. “I have a friend who does wood-work. Sometimes I go there and hep him out a little,” Lawrence further said.
His earnings from part-time work is minuscule, and so he is heavily dependent on Government’s social safety net programmes.
Lawrence explained that the Poor Relief Department covers 66 percent of his rent, which amounts to $12,000 monthly. He also gets $3,700 every other month through the Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH).
Lawrence is hoping for a brighter future financially, considering that he took legal action to get compensation from his former employer.
He explained: “The judgment [of the court] was for the company to compensate me for loss of limbs and future earnings, and that would have been $40M for compensation. The company filed an appeal and stuff like that. It went to the Court of Appeal and the appeal got struck out.”
Lawrence said the company is no longer in operation, and has not reached out to him regarding any form of compensation.
“I haven’t received a dollar from them since I lost my legs there. They don’t speak to me; it is like we are in a malice,” he told The Beacon.
“I would like to get compensation so that I can get somewhere to live; that is what I want to accomplish first.”
Lawrence added that, throughout his challenges, he has not allowed himself to wallow in self-pity. He hopes all other physically challenged people will adopt that trait.
“I don’t let my disabilities determine who I am,” he said, adding that he is grateful for the help he has received from relatives and friends, including those living in his native Standfast district in Brown’s Town.
Lawrence further said: “The people treat me good maybe because of the person I am. I am not someone who likes to depend on others for support per se. I am not a person who gives up; I am more of a person who motivates you to know that you can be strong.”
Lawrence is a past student of Higgingsland Primary and Junior High School, Alva Primary, as well as Aabuthnott Gallimore High.
He stated that, while he was growing up, he acquired basic skills as an auto-mechanic. However, he got his first full-time job at the block factory where he ended up losing his legs.
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