Fri | Dec 9, 2016

RURAL EXPRESS - Mother on bended knees - Seeks help for her son with tumour

Published:Saturday | December 6, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Zavia Bennett on a hospital bed. - Contributed
Ten-year-old Zavia Bennett has had this tumour for approximately three to four years. If not removed, he may develop serious complications. - Contributed
Zavia at the onset of the tumour. His face was slightly swollen but he was able to go to school. He has now been out for more than a term. - Contributed
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Tamara Bailey, Gleaner Writer

CROSS KEYS, Manchester:

IMAGINE BRINGING a child into the world with the assurance that you will take care of all his needs as best as possible. For years, you work hard to keep the vow you made, but a condition, one that seems too big to handle, sends you into depression and causes you to second guess your abilities.

This is how 34-year-old Jefrodeen Douglas feels as she watches her son 10-year-old Zavia Bennett live with a tumour on the left side of his face.

"Zavia has had this tumour for about three to four years now. He got up one morning and shout out, 'Mommy! Mommy! I feel something in my jaw.' I realised the area was swollen so I took him to the doctor. The doctor told me it was a gum boil, and I got a prescription to treat it."

Many tests

Upon using the treatment for the alleged gum boil, Douglas soon realised the problem was not being remedied, so she took him to a pediatrician.

"After about three weeks ago, I took him to a paediatrician and I was sent to do some tests. I went to the Mandeville Hospital with my son and he was admitted for two weeks. Later, I was sent to University Hospital (of the West Indies). It was there that they found out, after doing tests, that it was a tumour.

"By this time, me spend up a lot of money for the biopsy and the CT scan, and when I heard it was a tumour, me get depressed same time because I know this was going to cost money I don't have," Douglas lamented.

As a single mother with another child, aged six, Douglas says her previous work of farming and selling has been on hold for some time and even then could not yield the money she needs to care of her ailing son.

"He (Zavia) is now at home waiting for his surgery that is supposed to be Wednesday December 10, to remove the tumour. I just want him to get back to a regular life. He has been out of school for about one and a half term now, and the doctor says I shouldn't let him play. He doesn't have any problem really eating, but all of this is unbearable for him and I know it's affecting him although him nuh really say it," Douglas told Rural Xpress.

She added: "I cannot wait for much longer, the doctor tell me too. If I don't remove this tumour then it could rupture 'cause its getting bigger and its pushing on the teeth to that side. All a dem probably soon drop out. It pains me to see him like this. The doctor says it won't affect his breathing, but to how it just tek ova the side, I am fearful," said a heartbroken Douglas.

Travelling to several entities to seek help, Douglas says she feels she has exhausted all her options and she no longer knows what to do and where to go.

"All me have to do now is pray and leave it in God's hands. We are still hopeful, but it is hard," Douglas said as she fought back the tears.

According to Douglas, with the surgery involving a removal of a section of Zavia's hip bone to replace the jaw bone that will be removed due to the tumour, the cost will amount to J$150,000 and an additional J$140,000 to purchase plates and screws, making it a total of $J290,000.

"I am on bending knees right now. I am pleading to anyone who can assist me, please to help. I really need the help. If this problem stays any longer. It will get worse, and I may need to travel overseas to get the necessary treatment and that I know will cost much more than what Zavia needs now ... so please help me. God bless you all." Douglas pleaded

She can be reached at 365-9618 and a donation can be made for Zavia Bennett to the paediatric ward of the University Hospital of the West Indies.

rural@gleanerjm.com