Jeff and Rhonda Fritz
Family run business
Age of parents:
42 and 38
Age: 10 Years
Diagnosis of child:
What are the biggest challenges facing your child on a daily basis?
I’m careful how I discuss Debbie’s challenges, as a result of a stroke in utero Debbie has Cerebral Palsy, but that’s just one aspect of who she is - she is a clever, pretty, outgoing girl who uses a wheelchair. Her challenges are access to places, it’s very frustrating finding access points into shops, schools, houses, sidewalks etc. It’s a shame and a travesty to live in a world that you can have no access to.
What are the happiest moments you have with your child on a daily basis?
She is girl like any other, just that she can't walk - her life is good and there is lot to laugh about.
Are you married?
Has your special needs child had an effect on your marriage?
Sure there is more strain then a ‘normal’ relationship, with normal kids but there is also more laughter, kindness and generosity. We are excellent at finding solutions together - be it a ramp in the garden, a railing into the pool, we will find solutions to where Debbie’s disability excludes her.
Are your family and friends supportive?
I’d like to speak of Debbie’s friends here - a very cool group of girls, who see past her wheelchair and see her. Yes, they have their issues and their fights as any 10 year olds would, but it’s normal engagements not a pity party.
What has your child taught you about yourself, both positively and negatively?
Both my kids have been incredible in what they have taught me, we are learning all the time and that can be very empowering, there have also been hard lessons learnt - Life can be very unfair.
What is your dream for your child?
Debbie will blossom and bloom as she grows older, the world is her oyster - if only she can have access to it! South Africa, wake up - it’s just not good enough, the lack of accessibility, the lack of toilets, seating at restaurants, ramps at schools and other buildings.