Janet Bocan needs help for her son
PORT MARIA, St Mary:
Although Janet Bocan is a caring mother who loves and cherishes her four children equally, she is regularly forced to bestow a disproportionate amount of time and affection upon her youngest child, Roger Braham.
Braham, 17, suffers from a rare genetic bone disorder, Crouzon syndrome, which prevented his skull and facial bones from forming properly during the early stages of development.
As a result, mother and son have travelled the length and breadth of the country trying to treat the condition. Bocan, who is from Jackson in St Mary, told Rural Xpress: "I have three other kids and they are quite all right; [Roger] is the last one.
"It's been very hard because we've been going to hospitals and private doctors all over the country from he was six months old. He knows almost every hospital in the country; I think Kingston Public Hospital is the only one he doesn't know.
"Roger has had two surgeries already. He was born with a small head, so the doctors had to put a plate into it to allow the head to grow properly; that was around seven years ago. The second operation was on his eye, and for the final surgery, they will screw a plate into the face to bring up his mouth and jawbone."
Bocan must raise $324,000 to pay for Braham's third operation, and has already secured most of the money, thanks largely to a donation of $144,000 made last month by a United States-based charity, the United Friends of Highgate.
Braham, who is a student at St Mary Technical High School in Highgate, was surprised, but nevertheless grateful, to discover that he'd received such as a sizeable contribution towards his medical bills.
He said: "I feel overwhelmed to receive this kind of support from the people of my community. This situation has made me realise that my parents have it very hard and so I'm thankful. To be honest, words can't really express how grateful I am."
Her son's disease caused Bocan to suffer many sleepless nights, but in spite of the setbacks and stresses, quitting was never an option. She explained: "I have seen babies worse than Roger, so if you're pregnant and having a baby, thank God when they are alright.
"You have to give God thanks, because I didn't know I was going to have problems with Roger and it has been up and down for the past 17 years.
"On one occasion, he was admitted into the University Hospital of the West Indies and there was another baby just like him, but the mother was very frustrated and threw him down, so Roger and I had to comfort him.
"Some people say they couldn't manage, but I've never given up on Roger because he is mine, through all the ups and downs.
"His father does a little farming and, whenever the things grow, we sell them and I take Roger and the money to hospital. It has cost a lot from the time he was born until now, so me and his father really have to work together.
"We've all been through a lot, so it's nice to see Roger has reached this stage now, and I know he loves me very much (laughs)."
To contribute to Roger's final operation, contact Reverend Hutchinson on 992 0045 or 879 4040 and, for more information on the UFH, visit www.ufohus.org.