When the school bus arrived to pick up Praveen Sritharan, the 12 year old needed to use the bathroom.
But with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, Praveen would have to go back inside, get his mom to help him into the bathroom and then back into his wheelchair before he could board the bus.
Unable to wait, the school bus left without him, and he missed the entire day of school.
His family is hoping proceeds from the Bradford Children’s Charity Fund Golf Tournament on Friday will be enough to modify a van and potentially install a chair lift at their house, so such an incident will never happen again.
“I was trying my best so I could get (to school). I wasn’t trying to not go. If I’m late, I don’t mean to,” said the Grade 7 Fieldcrest Elementary School student.
Praveen’s mom, Pirabahiny Thiyagarajah, said she would have taken him to school herself if she had a modified van, so she is thrilled by the idea of having one.
“It’s going to help me a lot,” she said, noting a Honda Odyssey is already being retrofitted for the family.
It was a little easier when Praveen was younger, said Thiyagarajah, because she could lift him into the family’s current vehicle, or carry him on her back up and down the stairs.
Now that he is older, the family had to move Praveen’s bedroom to the main floor from upstairs and stop going certain places, such as swimming, because of the difficulty involved.
With help from a new van and potentially a chair lift, more options will open up for the family, she said.
Praveen was diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy at age six, Thiyagarajah said.
His two older sisters developed normally, but Praveen took longer to be able to do certain things, such as walking. He eventually stopped being able to walk about 1 ½ years ago, she said.
Duchenne muscular dystrophy is an inherited disorder, which usually affects boys, where muscles get weaker over time, according to Muscular Dystrophy Canada.
Praveen, who loves video games and his husky-wolfdog puppy, Ace, said he is thankful for the charity golf tournament selecting him to get the proceeds this year.
“All the money goes directly to (Praveen),” said Luis Moniz, a sales representative with Century 21 Heritage Group Ltd., which hosts the golf tournament each year.
A different child is selected each year, and this is the eighth year of the tournament.
“If everyone does a little bit, it doesn’t cost a lot of money,” he said. “We need to help our kids. Without them, we’re nothing.”
Bradford Children’s Charity Fund Golf Tournament
WHEN: June 15
TIME: 11:30 a.m. registration, 1 p.m. start
WHERE: Bradford Highlands Golf Club, 23 Brownlee Dr., Bradford
COST: $150, includes lunch, dinner, cartTo register, call 905-251-2644. To have a form sent to you or sponsor a hole, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.