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Slowfund-raising for Mandeville heart patient

By ALICIA SUTHERLAND Sunday Observer staff reporter sutherlanda@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, April 13, 2014    

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MANDEVILLE, Manchester — More than a month since Mandeville resident Cherine Allen-Powell reached out to the public to assist her in sourcing at least half of her medical bill to fight her increasingly debilitating heart condition, she is still unable to set a date for the surgery, due to inadequate funds.

Since the Jamaica Observer story was published in February she was able to raise a total of $135,000 through persons who came to her aid.

"I feel grateful to all those who put out their best to help me and may God bless them," she said.

According to documentation from the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI) the required open heart surgery will cost close to one million dollars.

She still holds out hope that more assistance will come her way, including from the Ministry of Health.

A Ministry of Health representative had made contact with her following the publication of the story but no concrete plans for assistance have yet been made.

Speaking to the Observer in February, Consultant Cardiac Surgeon at the University Hospital of the West Indies Dr Roger Irvine said that it is recommended that surgery is done "within a certain time."

Irvine said that two of Allen-Powell's valves are not working, she is at risk of heart failure and her "quality of life" is impacted.

The mother of two has continued the janitorial work that she does for a living in an effort to survive independently.

She said, however, that she has been instructed by doctors not to exert herself because of the problems with her heart.

Allen-Powell told the Sunday Observer that she "still feels sick" and her symptoms include being short of breath and weakness.

She said that he was told from late last year by a doctor at the University Hospital of the West Indies that if she was able to come up with half of her medical bill within three months, a date could be set for the surgery that is expected to end her 21-year struggle with the disease.

Persons willing to help can contact Cherine Allen-Powell at 826-2559 or make contributions at COK Sodality Co-operative Credit Union (Mandeville branch) to account number 5908949 or Jamaica National Building Society (Mandeville Branch) account number 2094140962.

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