Young boy’s surgical needs strap family of four
By STACI STURROCK
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
At first, Shemiah Pierre gave all appearances of being a healthy baby. His mother, Chrislene Osceus, carried him to term, and Shemiah weighed in at 6 pounds, 3 ounces.
He also boasted a full head of hair, and it wasn’t for a couple of weeks, when a haircut revealed his misshapen skull, that his parents realized something was terribly wrong with their baby.
“When I saw his head, oh my God, I was crying,” recalls Osceus. “The top (of his head) was up, the sides were flat, and the back was long.”
Shemiah’s doctor immediately sent him to a specialist, who then referred the family to Miami Children’s Hospital.
The diagnosis: scaphocephaly or dolichocephaly, which occurs when the head is disproportionately long and narrow.
Shemiah underwent corrective brain surgery at the age of 2, and is scheduled for another operation in mid-December.
“They said if I don’t get him the surgery, I would not recognize him by the age of 12,” says Osceus.
Since the initial surgery, Shemiah, now 3, has been more talkative and active — he and baby brother Abishai, who is 18 months old, are partners in adventure, and in February, they’ll get a new baby brother — but he still attends speech therapy and, because the top of his skull still has not fused closed, he cannot play too rough.
Shemiah’s father, Gesnel Pierre, works in the kitchen at TooJay’s, but his paycheck can barely keep the family afloat.
He and Osceus share a single car that must be available to take him to work, and Shemiah to testing facilities in Miami and both boys to preschool.
Shemiah loves music, and Osceus hopes she can encourage that interest and place him on a path toward a productive life.
“I want him to become a good man,” she says. “It’s so hard now to raise kids.”
Shemiah’s mother, Chrislene Osceus, is unable to work because her 3-year-old son suffers from a medical condition and requires regular doctors’ appointments. Although Shemiah’s father holds a minimum-wage job, the family could use help with rent and utilities, transportation and clothing, and their home could use a new stove and refrigerator.
NOMINATED BY: Opportunity Inc., West Palm Beach
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