Demario Willesly: A God sent for his mother
MAY PEN, Clarendon:
Demario Willesly was diagnosed with a rare cancer called retinoblastoma at birth.
This condition caused him to lose his left eye at one year and seven months old, but that did not dampen his spirits. The family, especially his dad, did not take the situation well and he was troubled knowing he could not support his son adequately. "The medical bills were piling up and Demario was in and out of the hospital. He needed to be monitored constantly and had to take medication round the clock," said his mother Nordia Brown. But it was his positive energy that held the family together because they realised he wasn't fazed by his illness and so they fed off his "positive vibes."
Now seven years old, Demario is well enough to be attending school regularly and seems to be on a path to recovery. He has graduated from infant school and is now in grade one at Denbigh Primary School. His mother said, as a result of his significant improvement, his regularly scheduled doctor's visits have been changed from four times a year to only twice per year. "I'm encouraged because he is showing positive signs of improvement, and he has been responding favourably to the treatment over the last few years."
She said her son has every reason to be happy because he has come a far way under the conditions amid the countless hospital visits, pains and chemotherapy.
"Nothing no miss him, him no drop no catch, he is just vibrant and upbeat. He talks a lot and is troublesome at times, but I don't really mind," she said.
Brown said just recently, he was bullied at school and his lunch money taken possibly because of his illness, but Demario is still excited about going to school and learning all he can.
Demario is at risk of causing irreparable damage to the remaining eye as his present pair of glasses is due to be changed because the lens are worn. She said although the lenses are being sponsored, she still cannot find all the money to pay for the frame. "Imperial Optical says they will give him the lenses, but we have to pay for the frame which will cost at least $22,000. He has also outgrown his present prosthetic eye and it needs to be replaced as soon as possible with a new one to keep the shape of the eye socket so that the left side of his face doesn't shrink." This new prosthesis is to be made at a cost of $63,000. Getting this prosthesis is also proving to be a challenge as she was promised a cheque to pay for it, but said the promise is about to fall through because of the bureaucratic red tape that comes with company sponsorships.
'back at square one'
"Right now, is like we are back at square one because his prosthesis should have already been replaced and his glasses changed, but because all of our funds have been depleted, we cannot afford it independently, right now. I am also worried because he is falling behind in class because he cannot see properly and that is putting additional strain on the right eye," explained Brown.
Demario is the last of three boys for his mother. "He is just a darling, he is just a God sent. Sometimes I'd be there feeling down and he comes and says or does something unknowingly that will cheer me up, trust me, he makes my day many times when I'm feeling depressed.
"I couldn't have done it without the wonderful people at Angels of Love, they have been there for me and have assisted me greatly with Demario and I just want to extend my gratitude to them for all they have done for him and the family by extension. Not only Angels of Love, but to all the persons who assisted us, and to those who called and offered encouragement. We are grateful," she said.