Help for 9-year-old stroke victim
Jamaican in Atlanta uses radio show to raise $588,000 for HannahlisaMonday, April 05, 2021
BY JASON CROSS
A Jamaican living in the United States has used his radio show to raise $588,000 to help Claudette Grant and her nine-year-old daughter Hannahlisa Hall, who has suffered four strokes over the past three years.
Ruel “Rula” Brown, who lives in Atlanta, said he was moved after reading Hannahlisa's plight in the March 14 edition of the Sunday Observer.
“Whenever I am doing my show, I bring synopsis from the papers to the listeners on the RulaBrownNetwork. I was scrolling and saw Hannahlisa's story and I read the entire article. It hit me that the person who captured this story is like a genius. It caught my attention, so I posted it on Facebook [and] YouTube and I read it out on my show, Sultry Sunday Slow Jamz. I then suggested that we try to generate some funds,” Brown told the Jamaica Observer.
“We had a contest called riddle me this, riddle me that. A lady won US$100 and instantly she said she was turning it over to Hannahlisa Hall. I had hinted that I was going to send her [Hannahlisa] US$500 and people started calling in from England, Canada, all over the US and Jamaica, saying that they were going to donate something.
“On the first Sunday we did it, we raised over $250,000, and in the subsequent two days I extended the campaign and at the end I raised over US$4,400. We had about 45 persons who made donations. That goes to show that there are some good people out there, and people are willing to help, providing they trust the conduit,” Brown said.
“On behalf of the RulaBrownNetwork, I thank all who donated,” Brown added.
Hannahlisa's problems started in 2018 when she suffered a double stroke, a few years after being diagnosed with haemoglobin (Hb) SS sickle cell disease — the most common type of sickle cell disease, which occurs when a person inherits copies of the haemoglobin S gene from both parents.
The third stroke hit the child in 2019, and in February this year she suffered the fourth.
“A God alone know how it painful at times. Sometimes mi waan cry, but sometimes it feel like mi cyaan cry,” Grant had told the Sunday Observer last month.
At the time, Grant said she was finding it difficult to buy medication, pay rent, and purchase food from the small salary she receives from a job she had secured recently after going without employment for months.
“The medication cost like $6,000 for the month. Taxi charge me like $2,000 to get to the Sickle Cell Unit every month. The doctor has recommended her to do a magnetic resonance imaging because they want to do a test on her chest. When I check it out, they say it's $68,000. Mi nuh have dem money deh at this present moment,” the distraught mother had told the Sunday Observer.
Today, though, the help from Brown and his listeners, as well as other Sunday Observer readers who have contacted Grant, has made life a bit easier for the mother and daughter.
Grant is grateful.
“First of all I must say thank you to Jason from the Observer. When he got the story he did not turn a blind eye to it. He was touched by Hannahlisa's story. He said, 'Claudette, I have to put you in the Observer to get some help,' and a lot of people from all over the world have been calling and responding,” Grant said last week.
“A big thank you to Rula Brown, who put on a week of campaigning on his programme in Atlanta,” she added.
“Only God alone knows my feeling. If I have to run to the hospital now, I don't have to hitch or wonder where I am going to find the $1,000 or the $1,500 to take a taxi or to buy medication. Things have changed a lot. I give thanks to the Observer and everyone else who helped,” Grant said.
She pointed out that a recent attempt to have Hannahlisa undergo a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan at a private medical centre was unsuccessful as the child panicked.
“We had a little struggle to do the MRI. It was paid for, but the doctors did not want to put her to sleep, due to fear she wouldn't wake up. We tried to see if we could do it without putting her to sleep. When the doctor fixed her up and she reached the machine she start bawl and carry on, so they had to stop it. They said they will have to refund the money for me to take her to University Hospital of the West Indies to do the MRI because they have better equipment up there. If, at the end of the day, surgery has to be done, we can go on the battlefield and just continue ahead. I don't want her to get any more strokes,” Grant said.
Amid all the kindness Grant has experienced since the publication of the story, she shared one unfortunate experience which has now left her unemployed again.
She said that after the story appeared she began receiving numerous calls from people pledging assistance or expressing sympathy. However, her employer, she claimed, took offence to the influx of calls, even though she had explained her daughter's condition at the job interview.
Grant said one of the callers sent her $100,000, which was delivered to her at work. She thought she had stored the cash safely before re-shifting her focus to her duties. However, when she got home and checked the funds about half of it was missing. She said after reporting it to her employer the relationship became strained.
Grant said that while she is extremely grateful for all the help she has received, she really needs to work. She is appealing to anyone who can help her land a steady job to call her at 876-589-1468.
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