11-year-old Bobby-Gayle continues to fight cancer; parents seek more helpThursday, September 30, 2021
BY ROCHELLE CLAYTON
NEGRIL, Westmoreland — If Bobby-Gayle Lefever, the 11-year-old bone cancer patient whose mother made a public appeal for assistance earlier this year, is to ever live a normal life, she will require the help of generous donors, as her family eyes treatment options overseas after many failed chemotherapies.
Mother of the young girl, Kemeisha Williams, noted that, after the story was first published in the Jamaica Observer West in June, a woman reached out and helped her to contact a childhood cancer treatment facility in Miami, Florida.
“Because of the story, I got a connection with [a] doctor overseas. This lady that has a connection with someone overseas reached out to me. She told me her name and gave me the number for the hospital in Miami, Florida,” she said.
“We reached out to doctors overseas and they said that they are willing to take her overseas if this chemo that she is doing now, which is the last one they have out here to give her, doesn't work. They said that since she started a new chemo and that chemo has three sessions, she must complete them. If that [chemo] doesn't work then they will take her [overseas]. In the meantime, I will have to put together some funds, approximately US$20,000, so that is what her father and I have been trying to do.”
Williams shared that she was overjoyed to make this new connection, as local doctors told her months ago that they had exhausted all their options.
After speaking to the doctor overseas, the family then rallied together to host three fund-raising activities for the youngster in the Nonpareil Road area of Negril where they reside, Williams said. The events yielded roughly US$10,000.
“We have been doing some fund-raising [events] which [have been] successful; we are halfway there. We also have a GoFundMe account, it is going slow, but it is going,” she added.
But, “When it rains, it pours,” the child's mother told Observer West, as one of Lefever's routine check-ups at the Cornwall Regional Hospital in Montego Bay revealed that the cancer had spread to her other leg causing another setback in the child's fight against the disease.
One of her legs was amputated earlier this year as part of efforts to fight the cancer.
“Her other leg got infected with cancer as a tumor was growing around her ankle. They tried chemotherapy, however, it wasn't working,” said Williams.
“When we contacted the doctor overseas [again], they told us that she would have to do [another] amputation, because even if they were able to take her overseas for treatment, they would still have to get that leg amputated. During that time, it was getting bigger, it was painful for her, and she had to [be] using her hands to lift her leg up, so we just had to get it [amputated] done.”
On July 14, Lefever, a grade five student at the Mount Airy Primary and Infant School, became a double amputee, but the young girl is still not out of the woods as the cancer has also spread to both of her lungs.
“She did that surgery [amputation] and she recovered [well]. She is not having any pain now, however, the cancer is still at her [lungs], it spread there and after doing chemo and everything, it is not moving; the chemo is not getting rid of it from the [lungs],” said Williams.
Earlier this week, young Lefever received the second dose of chemo that will determine if she needs to travel overseas for additional treatment, the child's mother told Observer West.
“She got it [chemo] on Monday, which is going to be the second dosage, we will wait 21 days and then she will get the third dose…then we will know what happens next,” she said.
“This chemo that she is doing requires her to be admitted in the hospital because they will have her under observation as it is very risky; it can cause memory loss, [among other side effects]. The first time she got it, she [experienced some side effects] and they had to keep her there, so this time she was admitted for four days,” she explained.
Last February, Lefever was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a common form of bone cancer that mostly affects young children and adolescents.
Those wishing to assist young Lefever can do so by donating to Kemeisha Williams' National Commercial Bank(NCB) Negril account number 604180171 or through GoFundMe https://gofund.me/9faec97d.