Par­ents plead for ail­ing daugh­ter

Jamaica Gleaner - - FAMILY & RELIGION - Ta­mara Bai­ley Gleaner Writer fam­ilyan­dreli­gion@glean­

AMANCHESTER, Man­dev­ille,: T JUST 18 years old, Rachel Bar­rett is look­ing for­ward to a life filled with op­por­tu­ni­ties that will al­low her to pur­sue her dreams. But her heart was bro­ken into a mil­lion pieces four weeks ago when she re­ceived news of a med­i­cal con­di­tion she has that could pos­si­bly paral­yse her.

Since the age of 14, this promis­ing young woman has been ex­pe­ri­enc­ing ex­cru­ci­at­ing back pain that was un­ex­plain­able and was even thought to be caused by psy­cho­log­i­cal is­sues.

As a re­sult of the pain, she has been liv­ing on pain killers and tries hard to re­main pos­i­tive. But her par­ents knew some­thing was wrong when she started wet­ting the bed and show­ing signs of fail­ing health.

It was af­ter a visit to a doc­tor in Kingston and a se­ries of tests, in­clud­ing blood, ul­tra sounds, and fi­nally, an MRI, that the di­ag­no­sis of lum­bar spinal ependy­moma – a rare tu­mour af­fixed to the spinal cord – was made.

“It took us a while to find out what it was be­cause the tests we were do­ing be­fore weren’t show­ing any­thing, but the doc­tor (in Kingston) was con­cerned when no mat­ter how of­ten she emp­tied her blad­der, there was al­ways a litre of urine that would in­vol­un­tar­ily flow. That’s when he re­quested the MRI, and through the coun­sel of my sis­ter, we did it, and the tu­mour was found,” mother, Michelle Hec­tor, ex­plained.

As a re­sult of Rachel’s tu­mour and its con­tin­ued growth, the bones in the spine will con­tinue to thin and the nerves con­nected to her blad­der will be fur­ther dam­aged.

“When the doc­tor checked her re­flexes, which should be (mea­sured at) five, it was only two, and she has started hav­ing cir­cu­la­tory prob­lems be­cause of the nerves, twitch­ing, and numb­ness in her feet.”

With what was now con­sid­ered a high-pri­or­ity case re­quir­ing surgery from four weeks ago, Rachel and her par­ents are left to look to God for strength and guid­ance un­til they are able to raise the ap­prox­i­mately $6 mil­lion needed. “The doc­tor didn’t even give us pain meds or any­thing be­cause he was look­ing for us to be in his of­fice about three weeks ago to sched­ule the day for surgery, but we have not been able to come up with the money. It’s re­ally ur­gent as she has to do the surgery to find out if the tu­mour is can­cer­ous, and the longer she waits, the worse the nerves be­come and the harder it will be to do the surgery and avoid all com­pli­ca­tions that may cause paral­y­sis,” her mother re­vealed.


Rachel, whose dream it is to be­come a gy­nae­col­o­gist/ob­ste­tri­cian, pur­sued a prac­ti­cal nurs­ing course and is work­ing part time and study­ing at her mom’s cos­me­tol­ogy school, with the hope of one day achiev­ing all she has en­vi­sioned for her­self.

“I’m very heart bro­ken, very heart bro­ken,” she said as the tears flowed and her pain be­came ev­i­dent.

As her mother and fa­ther com­forted her and re­minded her that she was not alone, she spoke with op­ti­mism.

“I try not to think about the sit­u­a­tion be­cause that only leaves me de­pressed. Mu­sic makes me happy, and so I lis­ten to a lot of mu­sic. I’m also a big fan of Quite Perry, and so when I’m down, I watch all his videos. I re­ally want to be able to study medicine and help peo­ple, es­pe­cially old peo­ple. I love do­ing that.”

As a smile broke across her face, Rachel ac­knowl­edged all the sup­port she has been re­ceiv­ing on so­cial me­dia and ad­mit­ted that though she breaks down af­ter read­ing some com­ments, she is happy for the sup­port.

But Rachel is in dire need of mon­e­tary sup­port as her prob­lem wors­ens.

Track coach, for­mer vice-prin­ci­pal of Holm­wood Tech­ni­cal High School, and Rachel’s fa­ther, Ed­ward Hec­tor, made an im­pas­sioned plea for his beloved daugh­ter.

“We are ex­plor­ing all our av­enues and we are ap­peal­ing to good-na­tured Ja­maicans, or­gan­i­sa­tions, com­pa­nies, friends abroad, and any­body who can as­sist us. My daugh­ter needs your help. We know times are hard for ev­ery­one, but our sit­u­a­tion is very ur­gent, and fi­nan­cially for us, it is not pos­si­ble. I am a God­fear­ing man and I know He will come through for us. We re­main op­ti­mistic.”

To as­sist Rachel Bar­rett, visit her Go Fund me page; make a do­na­tion at NCB AC# 504611949 or Scotia Bank AC# 650579; or call Michelle Hec­tor at (876) 286-0581 or Ed­ward Hec­tor at (876) 540-9910

She’s not the hap­pi­est these day, but Rachel says see­ing a smile on some­one’s face makes her feel bet­ter, so she puts her best foot for­ward.

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