‘Pray for us’ - Mother asks for prayer for Mobay cancer victim as he heads to the US for treatment
For nearly a year, Jermaine Barrett, of Flanker in St James, has been living with a swollen tumour in his head, a devastating situation for the enterprising young man and his family.
Now, thanks to the kind support of Jamaicans, both at home and in the diaspora, the 26-year-old Barrett, a former chef, has secured a United States visa and a significant amount of financing to pursue medical treatment in the US. He is slated to leave the island today.
Barrett has an appointment scheduled for Monday morning at a medical institution in New York. His family is hoping that this will be the first step in his bid to arrest the cancerous growth and change his life for the better.
When The Sunday Gleaner visited Barrett's home in Flanker last Friday, Shena Carty and members of her Jamaican Madhouse team, who are based in the United States, were there finalising preparation for his trip.
Jamaican Madhouse was instrumental in setting up an appointment with a doctor in America and raising more than US$10,000 in a mere one month to assist the young man.
That sum was matched by Montego Bay businessman Brian 'Big Head' Martin, of Big Head Promotions.
"My sister found the post originally on Facebook and she shared it with me because I have the group," said Carty.
"I put it to the group and decided to create a Go Fund Me campaign, and we've been raising funds for him ever since. When we raised the first US$1,000 we sent it down and a Jamaican Madhouse member presented it to him. The video for it went viral and a lot more people came on board after that to help him," added Carty.
Barrett, who is now quite optimistic that the much-needed medical help will turn around his life, is thankful for the overwhelming support he has been receiving.
Happy and grateful
In addition to Madhouse and Big Head Promotions, his sister Janisha Atkins, who first brought his plight to the world via Facebook, has been doing an excellent job raising funds. They even managed to get Prime Minister Andrew Holness to buy plane tickets for Carty and herself to travel to the US.
"Words cannot express how happy and grateful I am," said Barrett during The Sunday Gleaner's visit to his home. "This condition began when I first pulled a tooth in 2008.
"I don't know if a nerve damage or a piece of tooth left back, but it caused a swelling in the roof of my mouth. Then that's where it started to form a little swelling under my eye and it got this way," explained Barrett.
"When I checked it out, the doctor told me I have a tumour swelling at the back of my eye and I need surgery."
Barrett had held a contract chef job at Iberostar Hotel but had to leave his job as his condition worsened.
He is one of five children for his mother, Monica Carroll, and she is holding out hope that she will not lose her only son.
"Everybody, pray for us, we really need the help. For those who helped, thank you very much for all your support. I hope you will continue as God will surely bless you," Carroll stated.
The Go Fund Me campaign can be found on both Jermaine Barrett and Shena Carty Facebook pages of the said names.
Brian Martin's campaign can also be found on Facebook where, in addition to Barrett, he is also raising funds for the Cornwall Regional Hospital and will be making a US$1,000 donation to that institution soon.