Little Jaheem needs a liver transplantTuesday, June 15, 2021
By Ashagaye Mullings
ST THOMAS, Jamaica — Kareen Boucher's son Jaheem was only eight days old when she realised something was terribly wrong. He had been jaundiced at birth and even though she followed instructions of the medical staff to ensure he got sufficient sun when she took him home from the hospital, he soon took a turn for the worse. Little Jaheem was often feverish and moaning with pain. A return to the hospital confirmed her worst fears.
Something was wrong. He was immediately admitted.
After a battery of medical procedures, including a biopsy at National Public Health Laboratory to test a sample from his liver, doctors confirmed that there was a problem with the organ. By then Jaheem had only spent three months and three weeks on this Earth. A second exploratory surgery revealed he had no bile in his liver. He needed a liver transplant to live. Documents provided by Boucher outlined her son's condition, as documented by Bustamante Hospital for Children.
“There is no medical team in Jamaica at the moment to carry out the procedure therefore this has to be done overseas. The cost for the liver transplant is US$250,000 and an additional US$5,000 for after-treatment,” his mother explained to the Jamaica Observer.
The doctors in the US, she said, have said it is best to do the transplant before Jaheem is one year old. He is now five months away from his first birthday.
“The doctors are encouraging me to get all that is needed quickly so that the baby can travel to the US to get the transplant done,” said the worried mother.
The plan is to have the surgery done at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx, New York. However, the family first has to find the funds needed for the procedure, airfare, and incidentals.
Jamaica China Goodwill Infant School, where Boucher teaches, has thrown its support behind the effort, already organising a cake sale and tag drive. There is a walkathon being planned for June 18, plus a 5K run/walk dubbed Race to Save Jaheem is set for July 25.
“Persons in my community are also planning a barbecue, my church is putting on fund-raisers and my friends are also planning another barbecue scheduled for some time in July,” a grateful Boucher added.
Help has come from other sources as well. Charlene Dixon, founder of Bless to Bless Foundation, initiated a $100 drive in which people are encouraged to donate that sum and urge others to do the same. In her role as president of the St Thomas Parish Youth Council, Dixon appealed to peer organisations across Jamaica for support. She told the Observer five are ready and willing to help.
However, the family is still a long way away from the financial goal. The young boy's worried mother is appealing to anyone who can help her son live a long and healthy life. Donations may be made through the GoFundMe page: https://gofund.me/f37c3a98; through NCB's Morant Bay branch (account number 644167666); or by calling Kareen Boucher at 876-860-9563 or 876-855-7159.
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