MILE GULLY, Manchester — Shanna Campbell lost her approximately 21-month battle with cancer last Thursday, a few days after her 18th birthday.
Her sister, Heather Campbell, told the Jamaica Central Observer that the late teen had gradually deteriorated over a period of months and passed at some minutes to six in the morning.
"She started getting weak, stopped talking, couldn't eat anything, couldn't identify anyone and was just deteriorating," Heather said.
Shanna's condition was brought to national attention in March last year when the Jamaica Observer published a story in which the family appealed for support to cover the $1.5-million cost of radiation treatment for her stage-two brain tumour.
Then Minister of Health Rudyard Spencer and other officials from the inistry negotiated a discounted cost with the Radiation Oncology Centre in Kingston, to which Shanna was referred, and she was able to access treatment.
She made significant improvements after that, to the point where, in Janaury this year, she started planning to return to school. The Mile Gully resident held firmly to a dream of sitting six subjects at the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate level, then enrolling in college with a view to becoming a mathematics teacher.
She had needed prescription glasses at the time because her vision was impaired by the tumour, but a private company in Manchester came to her aid.
However, her condition took a turn for the worse in April. Then, her sister reported that the tumour "grew back" necessitating "major surgery".
She said doctors were only able to remove a part of the tumour during that operation because of the threat of further damage.
In June, Heather told the Observer Central that Shanna's condition was at the stage where she needed to do chemotherapy. However, her body was too weak for her to travel for the requisite tests at Kingston Public Hospital.
Even as the late teen's family now struggles to cope with her passing, they report being overjoyed at the support Shanna received not just from government, but private companies and individuals who assited with related expenses.
"People really tried, and we really tried. If it was money to make her better she would have been well," said Heather.