The parents of scholar Orville Mckellop are celebrating his academic excellence amid the medical challenges he has faced.
They also expressed gratitude to all the people who have helped their son along the way.
Orville, who attained 10 CXC subjects at Jonathan Grant High School this year, is struggling with a genetic condition known as osteogenesis imperfecta (brittle bone disease).
It has caused him to undergo many surgeries and to be absent from school on numerous occasions, including for a one-year period.
His 43-year-old father, Adolph Mckellop, who also struggles with the disease, said he is proud.
“I do appreciate what my son accomplished because, when I was in his situation growing up in a household of seven, I was the one who wasn’t that healthy, and I exceeded all my brothers and sisters,” he told The Beacon.
Orville’s mother, Patricia Hayles, in the meantime, said she is happy that her son ended fifth form on an academic high, adding that she initially was scared to send him to secondary school.
“Mi feel good because, when him just start high school, I was worrying if anybody would trouble him or tease him and all those things. Mi feel good; mi feel 100 percent excellent,” she added.
The mother stated that her son’s academic feat is no surprise to her.
She recalled that Orville experienced notable academic decline only once, adding that it was due to intensified illness.
“Him goh back to school and come first in his class – second in his class out of 42 children. He was out of school for one year. Mi feel good; I am very proud of him,” the mother added.
She admires Orville’s tenacity and the positive outlook he maintains in the face of adversity.
“One thing I want people to learn from him is to always push themselves forward,” she said.
The mother recalled that Orville didn’t start to walk until he was five years old. He initially was suspected of having jaundice, but was later diagnosed with brittle bone disease – the same illness as his father.
Doctors were not sure if Orville was ever going to walk, the mother said. “Orville always have confidence and faith that him going to walk; him full of faith. From him start walking, him never look back,” she added.
The mother is elated that the staff and students at the schools Orville attended have treated him with enormous love and respect – even sometimes carrying him on their backs and in their arms.
Orville, who is a past student of Eltham Park Primary, is now enrolled in the sixth form programme at Jonathan Grant High School in his hometown – Spanish Town, St Catherine.
The mother, in the meantime, told The Beacon that Orville’s father migrated to the United States when Orville was four years old. He, however, provides financial assistance.
The mother, who also disclosed that she has a 26-year-old daughter, is elated that she did not abandon Orville, who has become the ‘brain’ of the family.
“I never let him down or put him in any home or anywhere like that; I stand by his side,” she said, adding: “Orville is 18 now and mi never let him down, might as well mi continue to support him.”
By Horace Mills, Journalist; B.A. in Media and Communications; CARIMAC, University of the West Indies.
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