Geoffrey is one of our newer clients at Hope Speaks, but we are so proud of the progress he’s made already, and couldn’t wait to share his story with you. He is a 27 year old, former speed skating champion in Uganda. In October 2015 though, he was out for a bike ride along the rode & was hit by a van traveling at a high speed. The crash threw him into a coma for 2 weeks, & during that time, he also suffered from a stroke. When he woke up, his ability to understand what was said to him was not affected, as well as his ability to read & write full sentences. Unfortunately, he had completely lost the ability to make any sound for voicing, and his ability to move the muscles of his mouth/tongue/face was severely impaired. He also was left with physical disabilities including limited movement of his right side.
We first met Geoffrey on December 15, 2018 when he came to our clinic in Kasokoso for an evaluation. He was able to communicate with our speech therapists by typing out text on his phone, so they were able to clearly understand his situation from the beginning. Due to the impairment in his facial muscles, he has a lot of trouble managing his own saliva which leads to a lot of excess drooling. Geoffrey made it clear that his biggest priority for his therapy was to get rid of all of the drooling. We created a therapy plan for him that focused on managing his saliva, feeding therapy, and strengthening his voice.
In just 2 months of consistent therapy, we are so proud of how far Geoffrey has come. He is so high-spirited & has totally committed himself to practicing the exercises given to him in therapy and is seeing real results already. Right now, he still has trouble managing his saliva while eating & multi-tasking, but when he is sitting & relaxed, his saliva is almost non-existent! He is gaining strength in his voice & is starting to have more control in his ability to use it when he wants. Last week we even got to hear him vocalize “yeah” multiple times during therapy! He has also been practicing his ability to chew and move food in his mouth with his tongue. He is currently only able to eat sweet bananas, but his ability to eat them safely has improved so much, and we know its only going to improve from here!
When asked about his goals for the future, Geoffrey mentioned that he previously wanted to win the speed skating championship in China, but he has changed his career path and he would love to open up a gym for people with disabilities and call it Hope To Walk Gym. His passion for fitness still comes through so strongly, despite his situation. He can be found practicing squats or lifting weights, even though many people would tell him it’s “useless for someone like him”. Geoffrey doesn’t let anyone discourage him, though, and has been able to see the progress for himself & is ready to prove all of the naysayers wrong. We are so so proud of Geoffrey & cannot wait to see him reach his goals & achieve his dreams.