Alessandro Boyd, Gleaner Writer
Good Samaritan comes to 7-y-o cancer patient's aid
Jean Williams was beaming with excitement as she spoke with The Gleaner, an emotion that she only dreamt of having just over a year ago when she found out her son had a cancerous tumour larger than 20 cm over his right kidney.
Sanjeev Johns, now seven years old, was diagnosed with neuroblastoma in August 2011.
"It was only last year I realised that he was eating but was losing weight, so I took him to the surgeon and they did a CT (computerised tomography) scan. We then realised that there was a tumour above his right kidney," Williams told The Gleaner.
"It didn't hit me at first because the doctor prepared me and told me it could be cancerous or normal. The part that hit me was when they told me it was serious and the price for the radiation was $1.2 million. I didn't know what to do, what to say, where to go, I could only cry as I couldn't afford it," she added.
Williams immediately sought help from organisations and individuals as Sanjeev was in dire need of assistance. Fortunately, she received a call from Philip Liu, the founder of Angels of Love Jamaica (AOLJ).
"He said to meet him and told me that he heard about Sanjeev from Dr Williams at the Bustamante (Hospital for Children) and is going to sponsor him. I felt so good," Williams said.
AOLJ is a non-profit organisation that is dedicated to providing lifesaving treatment, health, education and support services to children with physical, mental or emotional troubles.
Started radiation treatment
Sanjeev started radiation therapy last Friday thanks to financial assistance from AOLJ and the Washington Gardens Seventh-day Adventist Church which also provided $50,000 towards the treatment.
"It is a kind-hearted feeling to know that we could help, especially when it comes to critically ill children in Jamaica. It is also a stepping stone as we are soaring to new heights in terms of the amount of money spent on one critically ill child here in Jamaica by doing radiation therapy," Liu told The Gleaner.
AOLJ raises funds from various initiatives throughout the year and receives donations from organisations such as the National Commercial Bank, Lovebird Keycard and the National Supply Company Limited. It also has heart-shaped containers for donations in various outlets such as Island Grill and Little Tokyo.
The latest initiative will be AOLJ's fund-raising banquet to be staged on October 27 in commemoration of its third anniversary.
"We have assisted approximately 40 kids with different critical illnesses since inception in areas such as CT scan, travelling expenses, medication and clinical visits," Liu added.
Williams expressed how elated she was to have AOLJ and the Washington Gardens SDA support her both morally and financially in a time when she felt like "a fish out of water".