HULU TERENGGANU: When Rosnaini Mohamad learnt that her daughter Nur Damia Irsalina would grow up without limbs, she was naturally heartbroken.
For months, the nurse from Kuala Telemong cried and felt sorry for her third child, who would have to face the world without arms and legs.
“I could not bear the thought of little Nik (Nur Damia’s nickname) growing up in this condition,” said Rosnaini at her home here.
It all changed one day in December 2007. Rosnaini and husband Dr Daeng Malis Ab Kahar watched a video of Australian motivational speaker Nick Vujicic when Nur Damia was four-months-old.
Vujicic, then a 24-year-old, was born with tetra-amelia syndrome (a congenital disorder characterised by the absence of all four limbs) – the exact condition that Nur Damia has.
The video showed a happy Vujicic swimming, surfing on a board, and playing all kinds of sports – enjoying life like any other person would.
“I broke down and cried because for the first time, I felt there was hope for my little girl,” said Rosnaini.
When they heard that Vujicic was in Malaysia last month, the couple bundled up the entire family and drove to Kuala Lumpur to meet their hero.
“We found out he was speaking at a church, so we went over, but could not gain access to the event.
“So we tailed his car as it left the event, hoping to catch him at his hotel. When the car stopped at a petrol station, we approached him,” said Dr Daeng Malis, who is a doctor at a local university in Kuala Terengganu.
Vujicic then invited the family to his hotel for a meal.
“He (Vujicic) told me of his mother and I found out she and I shared many similarities, and I felt more determined after meeting him in person,” said Rosnaini.
Even Nur Damia was excited.
“Vujicic gave her a kiss and even recorded a video message for her to view when she is older. Even though she could not understand English, it meant a lot to her,” said Rosnaini.
Nur Damia currently attends kindergarten in Kuala Telemong and has learnt to write and draw using her toes.
She is eligible for primary one next year, but her parents are facing difficulties in finding a local school that would accept her.
“She cannot enter a special school as it is only for mentally disabled children. We were told to send her to a public school, but we have been turned down,” said Rosnaini.
“Some even suggested home schooling, but we insist that she attend normal schools like others.”