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Ailing woman thankful for help so far after Observer report

BY DEANDRA MORRISON
Observer staff reporter
morrisond@jamaicaobserver.com

Monday, January 01, 2018

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Lacia Manhertz-Malcolm has expressed gratitude for the help she has received since the Jamaica Observer published her story of persistent illness for over two decades.

“I'm really thankful because persons have reached out to me to help,” Manhertz-Malcolm told the Observer last week.

READ: 20 years of pain

Manhertz-Malcolm, who has multiple diabetes-related illnesses, including kidney failure, said that she became seriously ill after doctors at University Hospital of the West Indies initially misdiagnosed and operated on her prematurely.

“The money donated has helped out a lot with transportation to and from the hospital, and also medication which she needs outside of the hospital. It also helped to get the foods that she needs and which are recommended by her dietician,” said Manhertz-Malcolm's daughter, Tashonie Edwards.

Manhertz-Malcolm, who is staying with her daughter in Kingston while undergoing treatment, has eyesight and heart problems, plus there is water collecting around her lungs.

She also said that since 2017 she has been spending six hours on dialysis twice per week and is taking a total of 21 different medications.

“I'm glad that I've gotten the help because it has gotten harder every day,” added Edwards, a 23-year-old HEART Trust/NTA student.

Edwards said she has received around $60,000 in donations from individuals and help from a fund-raising initiative put on by the Mount Charles Citizens' Association in Mavis Bank, St Andrew.

Paul Meeks said he decided to launch a fund-raising initiative after reading Manhertz-Malcolm's story in the Observer on November 1 and spoke with representatives from the citizens' association about how they could proceed.

“When I saw it, I said to myself that it was sad to know that we were living here and she's right there and we did not know that she has been going through all of this,” he said.

He added that he has known Malcolm and her family for a long time, but did not know the 42-year-old's sickness was “that serious”.

Secretary of the Mount Charles Citizens' Association, Tamare Spaulding said that residents, assisted by the poor relief officer assigned to the community, and the Mavis Bank Bus Association were able to raise more than $80,000 for Manhertz-Malcolm.

Spaulding said that they had a cookout and sold chicken, pork, and other food items that were prepared by residents. In addition, members of the association walked the community and asked for donations.

“We are still awaiting a number of donations from churches and other persons who have pledged to give,” Spaulding said.

“We also realise that the nature of Mrs Malcolm's illness requires far more funding than we've donated,” she said, adding that the Manhertz-Malcolm's daughters are planning another fund-raising initiative in the near future.

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