Man with leukaemia seeks help
MAY PEN, Clarendon:
Spaced out with a blank look, Everton Henry, 48, leaned on the railing that surrounds the clock tower in May Pen as if he was pondering his next move.
The Sandy Bay resident says he was diagnosed with first-stage chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML) last March.
CML is a type of cancer that affects the blood and bone marrow. In CML, the bone marrow produces too many white cells called granulocytes, which are sometimes called leukaemic blasts, which gradually crowd the bone marrow, interfering with normal blood cell production.
Henry explains that he used to work with Windalco at Port Esquivel and during a routine medical check-up, the doctor found something unusual in his blood test. "The result was sent to the May Pen Hospital and then to the KPH (Kingston Public Hospital), where I did another blood test which was sent to Fort Lauderdale, and that's when it was confirmed and I got the diagnosis that I had CML," he told Rural Xpress.
With no clue what CML was, he sought answers which only served to cause him severe distress.
"I went back to work, but could only manage to do four months. Because of the nature of the illness, my health deteriorated rapidly," he said.
Since then, Henry has been home with no way of generating an income to fund his ballooning medical bills. "It has been very hard coping since then. I have to visit KPH twice a month to do regular blood tests to check on the blood count. Sometimes I even have to take medication without food, because I don't have the money to purchase both (food and medication)."
Henry said that had he not been on a special programme that subsidises his medication, he does not know what would have happened to him. "I have to find at least $4,100 every week, which is only good for one week's supply of medication; and with each passing week, it is even harder to come by with absolutely no source of income. When I do get some money, I try to buy what I need and store it, but it don't last long," said the soft-spoken man, while still leaning on the railing.
Henry added: "I am on my own. Right now, I'm thinking of visiting the Jamaica Cancer Society and tell them my situation, because I have nowhere else to turn."
He said he was married, but his wife left home three years ago, without a trace, after a family dispute. "I have not seen or heard from her since. I checked with family and church friends, but no results.
"With a 19-year-old unemployed son, sometimes I wonder how I do it. I feel stressed out at home and no one pay me any mind, so I just come out," he said, explaining why he was leaning on the railing at the clock.
After enquiring if he has tried any small job or hustling, he said he was willing to, but he will need a start as any cash he finds himself with all goes into medication.
Everton Henry can be reached at
424-3730 or 588-3132.