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PM fulfils cancer patient's last wish

Published:Tuesday | February 9, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Cancer patient, 19-year-old Gary Buchanan (left), speaks with Prime Minister Bruce Golding (right) as Minister of Health Rudyard Spencer looks on at the National Chest Hospital in St Andrew yesterday. - Ricardo Makyn/Staff Photographer

Facing his own mortality, 19-year-old cancer patient Gary Buchanan got a lift yesterday when his desire to meet his nation's leader was fulfilled.

Yesterday, in a meeting organised by The STAR, Prime Minister Bruce Golding paid the young man a visit at the National Chest Hospital in St Andrew.

Before the prime minister entered his ward, Gary sat on the edge of the bed in a blue Puma T-shirt having a discussion with his mother, Racquel Buchanan, and grandmother, Diana Grannill.

His body showed the signs of the suffering and pain he has already been through. His face was drawn and taut and he looked frail. However, his countenance brightened a bit when Golding stepped through the door, surrounded by officials, including Minister of Health Rudyard Spencer.

The prime minister walked over to Gary's bed where he leaned over to talk to him.

"I got a message from you that you wanted to see me," was the first thing he said to Gary. Golding proceeded to encourage him to fight on.


"I know that it is tough on you, especially for a young man like you who would normally be looking forward to a long, healthy life. I know how hard it is so don't give up," he said as he rubbed the young man's shoulders.

According to his doctors, Gary needs a tracheal stent to help him with his breathing while they do tests. The doctors said they could not do so now without the equipment, which is not available in Jamaica.

Gary's ordeal, which was first reported in The STAR last year, began when he realised there was a lump on his hand. After a battery of tests, which took place over several months, the lump on his hand was diagnosed as cancerous. He decided to amputate the hand, but that did not stop the spread of the cancer to other parts of his body.

The Raphael Avenue resident now has a little more hope, after the visit of the prime minister, who has made a commitment to help in any way he can.

"I felt I had a duty to be here and, whatever way we can help, whatever we can arrange to give him some comfort, we are going to," Golding told The Gleaner after speaking with the young cancer patient.

Gary was very appreciative of the prime minister's visit.

"I feel good. I feel nice for the prime minister to come and look for me. I get help 'cause my grandmother don't really have it, so I am thankful for what he is gonna do for me," he said.