A SIX-YEAR-OLD girl, Thusha Kamaleswaran, who was shot in the chest after being caught in the crossfire of a gangland attempted murder still does not know she has been paralysed for life.
The parents of Thusha Kamaleswaran have hidden the truth from her and have disclosed that the youngster still hopes she will be able to walk again in time for her seventh birthday in July.
“We haven’t told her that the doctors say she is permanently paralysed from the waist down because we don’t want to upset her,” said her father, Jeyakumar, 37. “We just said she will be out of her wheelchair in time for her birthday party. We want to give her hope that everything will be all right and that one day she will be able to do all the things she did before, so we’ll keep lying to her for as long as we can.”
Thusha, who had hoped to become a professional dancer, returned to her home in Ilford, Essex, on Thursday after spending a year in hospital.
She said: “I really miss dancing and I hope I will be able to dance again one day soon when I get better.”
She was aged five when she was critically injured when gangsters fired into a shop owned by her uncle in Stockwell, south London, where she was playing in March last year.
Her parents disclosed that surgeons at King’s College Hospital in London repeatedly revived her after she experienced two heart attacks and suffered extensive internal bleeding. Last week, Nathaniel Grant, 21, Kazeem Kolawole, 19, and Anthony McCalla, 20, were convicted of causing her grievous bodily harm with intent.
The trio were also found guilty of causing grievous bodily harm with intent to shopper Roshan Selvakumar, who was shot in the face, and of the attempted murder of their intended victim, Roshaun Bryan.
Mr Kamaleswaran, who has also kept the extent of Thusha’s injuries from her brother, Thusan, 13, and younger sister Thushaika, four, said his daughter had gained some feeling in both legs and sometimes on a “good day” she can wiggle her toes.
But he said doctors had warned them that it was unlikely she would ever walk again. Recalling the moment she woke after being unconscious for a week following the shooting, he said she could not speak because of the tubes in her mouth, so she took a pen and paper and wrote the word “dad”.
“When we saw the note, we started crying all over again,” he said. “But she just raised her hand and gestured, 'No, don’t cry.’ Then she started crying too.”
Mr Kamaleswaran said that the immediate aftermath of the shooting, when it was unclear whether Thusha would survive, was the “worst time in my life”.
“Everyone was phoning, asking what had happened, but I could not speak,” he said. “To see her lying in a hospital bed just took all of my heart away.
“My other children could not understand why this had happened.”