David Jenkins… an Appeal for Dolphin Therapy
David's story begins with Dave and Rosemarie, a couple, who unable to have children themselves, took the decision to adopt a baby they could raise as their own. David came into their lives in 1983 and showed himself to be a loving, laughing, bouncy boy. When he was three, Rosemarie began to notice that there was something amiss, as David was having peculiar spells of looking around at nothing and then falling asleep. After many visits to doctors, David was diagnosed as having epilepsy.
Many people live with epilepsy every day of their lives - in fact it is quite likely that somebody you know has it in some form. However, over the years, David's epilepsy became more and more severe and he developed a lot of different types of fits. He was eventually confirmed as having intractable epilepsy which is very complex and one of the most difficult to treat. Eventually, David was offered brain surgery to try and remove the part of his brain that was responsible for his fits, Dave and Rosemarie considered long and hard before they gave their consent to this operation and were pleased when it did seem to help. However, gradually, David began to be unable to do the things that he once could and that most of us take for granted. Today David is unable to speak, walk, talk or do any of the things that most people can do without help: he cannot dress or feed himself or even look after his own hygiene needs indeed his parents do everything for him.
Rosemarie had read some articles about how swimming with dolphins had helped some people who seemed to de trapped in their own world and this became an ambition for both her and husband Dave - that David would have this opportunity to try and change his life. A chance conversation with a journalist put the family in touch with the Dream Makers National Children's Charity who said that they would raise the money to send David and his family to Florida where this very special therapy is carried out. During the time that the necessary money was being raised, many people in all walks of life met David and took him to their hearts and became determined that he should have this opportunity.
The family flew to Florida for the whole of September 1996 for David to be able to have the therapy that might help him. The therapy was not easy for David, the therapists made him work very hard to earn his time in the pool with the dolphins. By the time he returned he had begun to look at people who entered a room and follow them with his eyes; he had begun to smile again and at times, make noises as if he was trying to speak. The most unexpected change though, was that the amount of fits he was having halved - nobody had expected this.
Those of us who know David had, if we are truthful, hoped for much more; we had hung all our hopes on this trip of his, but probably this was because we so desperately wanted him to return to being the fun loving boy he once was. Maybe, looking back, we were very unfair on both David and the dolphins who had helped him so much, how could we realistically expect a young boy to be miraculously cured when he was so very much encased in his own world?
The doctor who is the Director of the Dolphin Therapy Centre, felt very strongly that extra therapy could help David more. It is because of his belief that the 'David Jenkins Appeal' was begun in October 1996, the month after his return. It is the aim of the Appeal to raise £17,000 to send David and his family back to Florida for further therapy.
David and Rosemarie take donated goods to car boot sales and spend much of their time collecting things for just this purpose. Various groups of people have helped raise money by sponsored activities, raffles and auctions. These people believe in David and his ability to be helped. He is now seventeen years old and deserves to be given every opportunity to live a more normal life.
Thank you very much for taking the time to read this, we do appreciate it. If you feel that you could help in any way at all, please contact Dave and Rosemarie or myself, via the e-mail address on this site.
Malli Wadge Secretary to the 'David Jenkins Appeal'