FALMOUTH, Trelawny — Moved with compassion, members of the Trelawny-based Always Jesus Foundation (AJF) have organised a 5K run/walk/ride for Sunday, November 27 to raise much-needed funds to go towards the US$1-million price tag for a liver transplant for the ailing Woman Constable Donique Anderson.
The route of the event will start at the Johnson Petroleum gas station in Rock, Trelawny, and move westerly along the North Coast Highway, ending in Greenside in the parish.
According to Julian Brown, a hairdresser, who, along with Marisa Linton are directors of AJF, it will cost $2,000 to participate in the event and $5,000 for those who wish to participate with a branded T-shirt.
"Basically it's a fund-raiser for Woman Constable Donique Anderson because she is in need of a liver and the cost is US$1 millon. So AJ Foundation has decided to organise the fund-raiser," Brown told the Jamaica Observer West.
She noted that, so far, she is encouraged by the response the foundation has received to assist the female cop, who is one of her clients, noting that the 26-year-old constable hails from Trelawny but is stationed in Four Paths, Clarendon.
"People [are] reaching out. People want to support it. Honestly, I don't have an idea of a target but any amount we can raise we are going to try to raise it," Brown stressed.
Gem Donald, Woman Constable Anderson's distressed mother, expressed her appreciation for the efforts of the foundation to raise funds to assist her ailing daughter.
"I am very grateful for it because it can go a far way," Donald stressed.
"We are also trying to raise other funds for her, other people are trying to raise funds on her behalf. We really need the funds at the moment, but I know with God all things are possible. I am depending on God because I know he can do it, nothing is impossible for Him. I know He's going to work it out. So what we have done now is to contact persons in America to do a GoFund for her. So there is a GoFund going in America and other people trying to contact hospitals to receive her to do her diagnosis over to see what they can do for her over there," the grief-stricken mother said.
The constable and her mother are no stranger to disappointment.
Anderson's journey with the Jamaica Constabulary Force began in 2017 but she dropped out due to illness.
The constable, who had previously almost completed her training and was looking forward to graduating, was hospitalised for six weeks and was unable to region batch 117.
A year later the Holland High School alumna turned around her disappointment when she became a member of batch 119 on July 7, 2018.
She later fulfilled her dream when she completed her training course and left the Police College of Jamaica in Twickenham Park, St Catherine, with the highest mark.
At that time she was the only woman among the 196 recruits.
"My sickness really pushes me forward because some of the time I am in training and I feel a little pain, I tell myself that I am not going back to where I am coming from. It actually pushes me to work very hard to complete this training exercise," Constable Anderson told reporters following the passing-out parade and award ceremony, then.
Donald reflected that "seriousness" of her daughter's health woes emerged in 2018 when she was initially diagnosed with autoimmune hepatitis, a liver inflammation that occurs when the body's immune system turns against liver cells. She bemoaned that three years later doctors discovered that the young cop developed sclerosis of the liver.
"From 2018 she was diagnosed with autoimmune hepatitis. After the diagnosis she was up and running. She was on treatment at UHWI [University Hospital of the West Indies], where she went to a doctor like every for three months. She was at work just the very same way. After the autoimmune, in 2021, they told her she had sclerosis of the liver," the grieving mother disclosed.
"She was still in her treatment, going to work until, in 2022, around September, [when] the sickness took a toll on her body. Her abdomen became swollen, her eyes got yellow for a while. Everything changed in her body and she was admitted at the Falmouth Hospital. They were there treating because Falmouth does not have the experience like UHWI, they were just working off of the medication that UHWI gave her. She was there [admitted at hospital] for two weeks. She lost a lot of weight...can't eat much. She had to balance her eating, especially the fluid. Her feet began to swell, a whole lot of changes in her body at the moment."
Donald emphasised that, "UHWI told us that Jamaica does not do transplant and it is in America we have to do it."
"So we are trying to get an emergency visa because she doesn't have a visa at the moment. We are awaiting a medical report from the UHWI at the moment," she explained.
A donor of the organ is yet to be identified, but the family is banking on an American-based hospital, where the implant is expected to be undertaken, to arrange one, the mother said.
"We don't get a donor as yet. The hospital that we are going in Florida, they are going to try and work out something for her. So I don't know what is going on yet. I wouldn't mind if she got the chance to leave here [Jamaica] and go over there and they find out what they can do for her," she argued.
The Deeside, Trelawny, native, who said she is employed at the Falmouth Hospital, related how devastated she is over her daughter's ailment.
"Tell you the truth, it is not easy to deal with, not easy at all. I always have to be there for her from the moment she took sick and she came out of the hospital…I have to be strong for her, but to tell you the truth, it is not easy to deal with, especially when she's in pain and just crying, crying, crying. It is not easy to deal with," she bemoaned.
The ailing woman constable is now on vacation leave, said her mother.
"She has been on leave since September 5...she's currently on leave and is scheduled to return to work on January 3, so she's home," Donald told the Observer West.