Fri | Jan 28, 2022

Nickolai closer to his dreams

Published:Thursday | June 25, 2015 | 12:00 AMNadine Wilson-Harris
Sickle cell patient and Grade Six Achievement Test top student at Glowell Preparatory, Nickolai Graham gets a kiss from his mother, Marie Berbick-Graham, at school on Wednesday.
Nickolai Graham is congratulated by fellow students at school.

Inspired by the doctors who saw to his care as a

sickle cell patient, 11-year-old Nickolai Graham feels he is one step closer to his goal of becoming a paediatrician after scoring a 98 per cent average in the 2015 Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) and earning a place at Campion College.

Graham was diagnosed with sickle cell at birth and often experiences pain in his joints and headaches.

Despite his illness, he said he tried to stay focused on his dreams and was able to pull through to become the top-performing GSAT student at the Glowell Preparatory School in Portmore, St Catherine.

"It was very hard. I was absent a lot during grade five, but my teacher helped me

to catch up," he told The Gleaner.

"Sometimes, while I was at school in my classes, I would feel pain and I would have to be sent home," explained Nicolai, who is the school's head boy and captain of its Schools' Challenge Quiz team.

His teacher, Gillian Myers, described the youngster as a model student.

"He is self motivated and self driven. I don't need to do much where Nickolai is concerned. He sets his goals and he does everything in his power to achieve them," she said.

Graham's victory was also made possible with the support of staff at the sickle cell clinic where he receives treatment on a regular basis. The clinic currently provides treatment to scores of children on a weekly basis and has been participating in activities to commemorate sickle cell awareness week which was kick-started last week Friday.

"We do see children every day in our clinic and we have new patients coming in every week and most of them are children," said June Harris, a nurse at the clinic.

Graham hopes to one day assist others like himself who are born with sickle cell.

"I would like to help other children and make sure they are healthy," he said.