Dave Lindo, Gleaner Writer
MILE GULLY, Manchester:
EIGHT-YEAR-OLD SHEMAR West was the typical boy who loved to run around and play with his friends in his community of Hasty Good, in Mile Gully, Manchester. However, things took a negative turn for him in 2011, when some lumps were spotted on his neck. He was later diagnosed with lymphoma-cancer of the lymph node.
Shemar fell ill and was taken to the University Hospital of The West Indies in St Andrew, where he received a series of chemotherapy treatments for a year. "His condition improved and the doctor told his mother (Althea Powell) that it was okay for him to go to school," his cousin, Lotoya Hannah, said.
"Shemar started attending Mile Gully Primary School in September of last year and after three months, we started seeing signs of the lumps coming back," his mother said. "In January, after doing some tests at the hospital, they (doctors) found that he had leukaemia, as the cancer had gone to his blood."
Shemar again got very ill and is presently unable to walk. "We are trying to get a walker for him, because he can't help himself around," Hannah said.
Meanwhile, the hospital bill is climbing. Checks with the family revealed that it has gone near the $2-million mark.
"It's really rough. We have to be taking him to and from the hospital. Sometimes I have to stay there with him," Powell said. "It is also taking a toll on him because sometimes he just sits and cries. He is very unhappy at times.
"Shemar is to go back to the hospital on Monday to continue his treatment. Presently, things look dismal because we don't know where the money is coming from," Hannah said.
She added: "We are just asking Jamaica if they can reach out and help Shemar because we want him to get better."
The family has set up an account for anyone willing to help Shemar in his efforts to fight the disease. The National Commercial Bank account number is 504293491.