Bor­rowed time

Jamaica Gleaner - - MESSAGES - Ce­celia Camp­bell Liv­ingston Gleaner Writer ru­ral@glean­erjm.com

MAY PEN, Claren­don: T HAS al­ways been Tosita Cun­ning­hams’ dream to some day be a mother. For years, she pur­sued this dream but knew the bit­ter taste of dis­ap­point­ment when her womb re­mained bare. But then, there came the day at age 39 when she fi­nally got con­fir­ma­tion that she was preg­nant. “The minute I de­liv­ered my baby, I knew some­thing was wrong. They took a long time to take her to me,” Cun­ning­ham told Ru­ral Xpress. She said she asked God for the strength to deal with what­ever it was. “The doc­tor told me my daugh­ter had Down’s syn­drome ... three weeks later the pae­di­a­tri­cian told me she had two holes in her heart, among other com­pli­ca­tions,” she said. Cun­ning­ham said upon hear­ing the news, she broke down in tears. “I was like, ‘God I have come so far by faith and you won’t take my child’... it was then I felt a calm­ness in my spirit and I knew it would be all right,” she said. Al­though Cun­ning­ham has been told that with each pass­ing day her daugh­ter, Tes­sita Dom­inque John­son, is on bor­rowed time, un­less she can get an

IBaby Tes­sita John­son

open heart surgery, she is not los­ing hope or let­ting go of her faith.

“For so long I have wanted to be a mother and I love my daugh­ter with all my heart. She is per­fect in my eyes. I just want the chance to con­tinue show­er­ing her with all the love I have for her,” said Cun­ning­ham, while get­ting emo­tional in the mid­dle of her speech. She made a valiant ef­fort to fight back the tears, but that proved un­suc­cess­ful and she gave way to the emo­tions that over­pow­ered her.

“Sorry about that ... but the thought of los­ing

Tosita Cun­ning­ham begs for a chance for her daugh­ter

her just gets me emo­tional ev­ery time,” she said, look­ing a bit more com­posed as she con­tin­ued.

Ac­cord­ing to Cun­ning­ham, there are times when her daugh­ter’s tongue and fin­ger­nails turn pur­ple and the least ex­er­tion of en­ergy will have that ef­fect.

“The doc­tor said her heart is al­ways over­work­ing, and that’s why he rec­om­mended the surgery. She should have had it done from three months ago, but we just don’t have the funds,” said Cun­ning­ham.

The mother is giv­ing thanks to a kind-hearted doc­tor who, upon meet­ing her and her daugh­ter, felt so moved that he reached out to a group in New York, re­sult­ing in her be­ing able to get the surgery done free.

“I am grate­ful for that as­pect, but I still have to come up with the plane tick­ets for my daugh­ter and my­self, plus other ad­di­tional ex­penses and after care cost ... I can’t take up that of­fer yet,” she said.

Cun­ning­ham, who works as a com­mu­nity health aide, has used up all her re­sources in clinic vis­its to the Bus­ta­mante Hospi­tal for Chil­dren and other ex­penses for her daugh­ter. She also shared that Tes­sita’s fa­ther, al­though giv­ing when he can, is also fi­nan­cially chal­lenged.

Cun­ning­ham said she is a proud mother and is in no way em­bar­rassed by her daugh­ter’s con­di­tion. She fiercely pro­tects her like a lion pro­tect­ing her cub.

“I do not live in de­nial about her con­di­tion and I chal­lenge any­one who would want to hurt her. I live to see the day when she can play like any nor­mal child ... which she will be able to do after the surgery,” she said.

Cun­ning­ham, who lives in Oliver Gar­dens, May Pen, Claren­don, em­braced Christ as her Lord and Saviour and is now a mem­ber of the Voice of Vic­tory Min­istry in May Pen, where she said the mem­bers em­brace her and her daugh­ter, giv­ing them the emo­tional sup­port they so badly need.

Tes­sita John­son needs surgery to lead a nor­mal life.

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