Girl needs million dollar surgery to correct painful scoliosis
Launtia Cuff, Gleaner Writer
SANTA CRUZ, St Elizabeth:NAJWA CAMPBELL has always wanted to attend St Elizabeth Technical High School and was excited when she was placed at the institution based on her performance in the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT).
Najwa, who should start high school in September, is expected to miss the first part of the school term, however, as she will have to undergo surgery to correct an abnormal curvature of the spine, which has been caused by scoliosis.
Her mother, Donnette Campbell, said Najwa was diagnosed with the condition late last year. She said her daughter first complained about back pain for some time before, and then later, a protruding bone was noticed.
"From last year February, she started crying for back pain. We thought it was the heavy bag with the GSAT books until later down in October when we noticed when she [stood] up that one of the bones of the back [was pushed] up.
"We took her to the doctor and he sent us to do some X-rays. When the X-rays of the back were done, we found out it was scoliosis. The doctor sent her to Mandeville Regional Hospital. The bone specialists there looked at the X-ray, and they said they cannot manage it, they have to send her to the chief scoliosis specialist for the island because definitely, she is going to need surgery because it's over 52 degrees curved," Campbell said.
"We got six weeks, and the deadline is the 13th of August that we should return to the hospital with the money. The doctor says she will be paralysed by December if she doesn't do it (the surgery)," Najwa's mother added.
This corrective surgery will not be a possibility unless Najwa's parents are able to come up with $1 million, a sum her mother said would be impossible for her and her husband to come up with on their own in less than a month.
Five hundred thousand dollars of that sum will cover the cost of the operation, while the remaining amount is the cost of the material which will be used in the surgery. Campbell said the doctor is in the process of seeking sponsorship to cover the operation costs, but even so, the outstanding amount is still an unbearable one for the family.
"We have sent out letters to different people. Some are responding, and some, we don't get any response. It's very hard right now, but we have faith and trust in the Lord that everything will work out," Campbell said.
The experience has been a challenging one for the 11-year-old as she not only has had to deal with the pain and discomfort caused by her condition, but is also made to feel uncomfortable about herself by her peers.
"Sometimes I have to cry. [I feel pain] almost every day. It's on and off. The pain was hard because sitting up in class, the pain always started from my lower spine. This affected me because sometimes I was not paying attention (because the pain was too much to bear).
"At school, sometimes children would notice and say out loud, 'Look at Najwa back,' I hate to hear children speak about it because it makes me feel like sometimes I'm not perfect. I just try to ignore them," Najwa said.
Najwa's parents are looking forward to a successful operation that would help their daughter return to living a normal life but need help if this is to be a reality.
If you are able to assist this family, and feel inclined to, please contact Najwa's father, Patrick Campbell, at 840-1316 for more information on how to do so.