WHEN five-year-old Andre Arnett first started complaining of pain in his right arm while playing in April last year, his mother did not think much of it. She gave him some pain medicine and told him to rest.

But when the preschooler began complaining about pain in the right foot a few days later, and then pain in his side, his mother became a worried. Fearful of going to the hospital due to COVID-19, she took him to a general practitioner for a check-up. Never did she imagine that a few weeks later her active little boy would have been diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

“They did a series of tests on him and, after doing an ultrasound, they found a mass in his tummy which they thought was cancer,” Andre’s mother, Ofalia Wilson told the Jamaica Observer. “From there he was transferred to the Bustamante Hospital for Children.”

That was May, and since then little Andre has been receiving treatment for the dreadful cancer which has also spread to his bone marrow. The once plump child has lost a considerable amount of his body weight and energy, as he went through several rounds of chemotherapy. But after months of his body responding positively to the treatment, in which the mass had shrunk and bone marrow scans returned clear, he had a relapse in October.

“They saw that the mass had returned,” the mother said. “The doctors said that he needs to do a bone marrow transplant, and Jamaica does not offer that. The options were that I could keep him at the hospital and continue three or maybe four more cycles of chemotherapy, depending on what his body can take, which afterwards he will need to do the bone marrow transplant overseas. Or, I could just take him home and stop fighting…”

The 29-year-old single mother refused to give up on the younger of her two sons. Though she is currently unemployed and also has Andre’s nine-year-old brother to care for, she divides her time between the children’s hospital and her home in western St Catherine to try to be there for both her children.

“It’s not easy to be coming here every day and having to go home to my other son,” she said. “Emotionally, I cannot be there for him as I would like to be. I try to talk to him about the situation but he tries to ignore me. He isn’t handling it very well. My sister helps me out with him but she is also a mother herself, so she can only do so much.”

As Andre gears up to undergo his third round of treatment since October, Wilson knows that she needs help for her son. She is appealing for assistance to get him overseas for the life-saving bone marrow transplant.

“My family has been trying for months now to get help in the USA for him to do the transplant there,” she said. “We’ve been looking around and contacting hospitals and, based on the estimates that we have been getting, it will [cost] well over $30,000,000 — and we do not have any local or international insurance coverage.”

With her back against the wall, the mother has since turned to fund-raising platforms and social media to solicit funds towards the treatment. Those wishing to contribute monetarily may do so through GoFundMe. She may be contacted at 876-320-1100 or via email at [email protected].

“I’m hoping that somebody out there will actually hear my cry and assist in any way they can. It doesn’t have to be money. Maybe someone has a hospital link or a contact that can help to make it a little easier,” the mother pleaded. “I know it’s very expensive and I don’t know if we can raise all of the funds, but I just know that I need the help and I am trying to find it. He is fighting, and I have to help him fight.”

Transplant News Sharing // “Bone Marrow Transplants” – Google News from Source www.jamaicaobserver.com

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