Portmore-based woman gives dad the 'gift of life' after fight to get her to America
Jamaica in the WorldMonday, October 18, 2021
A disabled Jamaican US Air Force veteran living in Connecticut is thanking everyone who made it possible to get his Portmore, Jamaica-based daughter to Connecticut for a crucial surgery that could save his life.
Martin Goodrich, 59, had all but given up hope of finding someone with a matching kidney. He has stage four kidney failure and needs a transplant but has a rare blood type, O positive.
After more than a year of fruitless search Goodrich feared he would not live much longer, according to News 12 Connecticut.
But when doctors eventually found the perfect match, it was none other than his daughter Nicole Goodrich, 24 who was living in Portmore, St Catherine.
Thankfully, she was willing to give him one of hers. But getting his daughter from Jamaica to the US was as difficult as finding a kidney, because of stringent immigration requirements under the Donald Trump Administration.
Working alone, the family faced one hurdle after another trying to get Goodrich to Connecticut and, for a time, it seemed all hope was lost. Then, 11 months ago, the family turned to News 12. The story caught the attention of Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut.
“After months of patient diplomacy, Nicole was finally able to travel to Bridgeport, Connecticut. Blumenthal came to the family's house to meet Goodrich's daughter in person,” the news outlet reported.
It quoted Blumenthal as saying: “This diplomatic journey had a successful conclusion. It took a lot of work, perseverance, courage and strength.”
A joyful Martin Goodrich thanked News 12 Connecticut, Senator Blumenthal and the Houston VA Hospital for helping to get his daughter to the city.
“I feel blessed that my daughter is going to be able to give me the gift of life,” Goodrich said.
The transplant surgery was set to take place at an undetermined date at Yale New Haven Hospital. Goodrich says his daughter must do blood work and other tests before setting a date.
Goodrich served in Texas, Korea, the United Kingdom and even at CIA Headquarters in Langley, Virginia, after migrating to the US from Jamaica, aged 17 and penniless.
Senator Blumenthal had promised the family that it would be easier to get his daughter a humanitarian visa to travel from Jamaica for emergency medical reasons under the next Administration, assuming that Joe Biden would win the presidential elections.
“This man is a veteran. He served and sacrificed for his country and he needs a kidney to survive. I'm going to be fighting to enable his daughter to come to this country so Martin can have the kidney he needs to survive,” Blumenthal was quoted as saying at the time.
Biden went on to win the US presidency and Blumenthal, a Democratic senator from Connecticut since 2011 and one of the wealthiest men in the Senate, was able to fulfill his promise to Goodrich.
Assistance came also by way of a GoFundMe account that Goodrich launched last year November, telling potential donors he was an immigrant from Jamaica who served in the US Air Force for 10 years, from the years 1982-1993.
“Unfortunately, within the last few years I've had a stroke that left me semi-paralysed on the left side of my body. I've also been diagnosed with stage 4 kidney disease/failure. I am currently on the waiting list at the Iowa VA and Yale New Haven hospitals. I have a 24-year-old daughter, Nicole, who is a match but she is currently located in Jamaica. I am seeking assistance for additional expenses for her to come to the USA.”
The fund-raiser reaped just under US$3,000 and Nicole Goodrich arrived in the US in August this year.