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Confined to bed - University student turns to Bible as disease puts life on pause

Published:Monday | January 18, 2016 | 1:00 AMJodi-Ann Gilpin
Chanise Kiffin (in bed) with her mother, Rosalee, at the University Hospital of the West Indies on Friday.

Having started her studies at the University of Technology in 2011, Chanise Kiffin thought she would have been among the graduating class of 2016.

However, those plans have been put on pause, after the 22-year-old was diagnosed with a condition known as aplastic anaemia.

Aplastic anaemia is a deficiency of all types of blood cells caused by failure of bone marrow development.

This has resulted in her being confined to a hospital bed since October of last year, an experience she said she has been taking in stride.

"I got pregnant and I was also a part of the work-and-travel programme. So when I returned, I started going to my doctor and she sent me to do a blood test.

"Then I visited the second time with the results. She saw that something wasn't right with my blood, so she sent me here (to the University Hospital of the West Indies), and when I came, the doctors did a bone marrow test and they found that my bone marrow wasn't producing any blood cells at all," she told The Gleaner.

"Since that time, I have been depending on donors to give blood, just so I can cope on a daily basis, because I will have to go overseas to get treatment," Kiffin said.

"I don't really feel pain, but over time, things are regressing because I just found out that my liver is swollen. If I eat anything, I bring it back up. So right now I am very hungry and thirsty, but I can't really eat because I have to give my stomach a break and my nose can start bleeding anytime."

 

CONCERNED ABOUT SCHOOL ABSENCE

 

The former Ferncourt High School student, who is from Cowley district in

St Ann, told The Gleaner that she was most concerned about the time she will have to be absent from school.

"I had to defer my courses, so after I get better, whenever that is, I will resume. I had one semester left, so I do feel discouraged sometimes. Sometimes I wonder if my life is on pause and if I will ever be able to get back on track," she said.

"What I have been doing is reading my Bible more often and praying often so that I can cope each day, because there are days when I feel very sad."

Kiffin, along with the rest of her family, is clinging to hope, as they leave the island today to undergo surgery in Maryland, United States. She is, however, desperately seeking whatever assistance she can receive, in order to alleviate expenses that will be incurred during their six-month stay.

"The surgery is free and I will be able to stay at the hospital for two months, so I am thankful for that. However, my mother and I will be there for six months in total, so for the other four months, we will basically have to find a place to rent, take care of food expenses, so it won't be easy," she explained.

Rosalee James, Kiffin's mother, who is also the mother of five other children, shared that it has been a difficult task to watch her daughter undergo the challenges.

"We managed to come up with some cash, but it won't be enough to cover all the expenses. I used to cry openly, but I have to try and be strong for her. But I really don't like seeing her going through this," she said.

"I've always admired Chanise. There was no father around, but she still managed to rise above the challenges. I am a firm believer in God, though, and I believe that all of this is for a reason," James declared.

Persons wanting to assist Chanise, may contact her brother Nicholas Campbell at 792-8669. Persons can also make their donations through the National Commercial Bank, account number 374-236-970.

jodi-ann.gilpin@gleanerjm.com