Changing Rashida's world
Rashida Bridgewater of St. Kitts was 12 when she came to Michigan. She had hurt herself playing netball and needed corrective surgery on her left hip.
Rashida’s surgery took place at Bronson Hospital in Kalamazoo. Dr. Mark Noffsinger was her surgeon, and Dr. Lisa Nagler was her pediatrician. The surgery went well. “Rashida was an easy patient,” says Karen Cyr, her host mom. “We converted our dining room into a bedroom for her, using sheets as dividers. She was such a good sport about that. I do child care during the day, so just on the other side of the sheets was a room full of children playing noisily!
“For a while afterward Rashida needed to use a walker, and then she graduated to a cane. She was very excited about that transition, because the walker had slowed her down.”
The Cyr family, Karen and her husband Ken and their children, of Portage, found that Rashida fit into their family very well. “Rashida lived with her mother and four siblings,” Karen says. “Her mom worked a couple of jobs, and her older sister also worked. It was very apparent that Rashida was used to running the house and looking after everyone; it took a while for her to get used to being the youngest in the family!
“While she was here, Rashida attended West Middle School. She loved Mr. Sang, the choir director, and was so excited to be a part of the holiday concert. We’d never seen a bigger smile. Rashid always worked hard on her homework; she gave it her all. She was excited about every big project she had to do, and loved to share every detail of what was said about it and class and how she was going to tackle it.
“Church was very important to Rashida. She attended a Protestant church at home, and while she was here she went to a Catholic mass geared to high schoolers. We have a friend who is a priest, and Rashida fell in love with him. Her faith is very significant in her life. As we drove home from the hospital after her surgery, she told us how thankful she was that God had allowed her to come to Michigan and that when she went home she wanted to be baptized. She did indeed get baptized when she got home, and told us about it proudly in a letter.”