Twenty-three -year-old renal patient, Crystal Campbell was recently gifted with a cheque for US$5000 towards her medical expenses by New Jersey-based doctor, Robert Clarke, who was in the island to hand over the funds to her.
Dr Clarke, founder of HELP Jamaica Medical Mission and the president of National Association of Jamaica and Supportive Organizations (NAJASO), said he was moved when he heard about Campbell’s challenges, which she outlined in a letter to his organisation seeking help.
Campbell said she had been diagnosed with renal failure in November 2017, and has to undergo dialysis two times a week.
She said with one session of the dialysis costs J$11,000 (approximately US$88) it was ‘a struggle’ for her.
“This costs way beyond what I can afford,” she said.
Campbell informed that additionally, she had been fitted with a catheter in her neck which had now become uncomfortable.
“I am told by the doctors at the center that I need to have a fistula created to provide access for my treatments as this catheter makes it very easy for me to get an infection which could cause so many complications,” she said.
For persons requiring dialysis, medical personnel must identify an access that allows blood to flow out of the body to be filtered and reflowed to the body. There are three access types: catheter, graft and fistula.
Dr Clarke confirmed that the risk of bacterial infection from the use of the temporary catheter was in fact high.
“That’s when we decided that we had to help,” he said.
He said that he took a break from his practice for several days and flew down to hand over the cheque which he said would help to replace Campbell’s temporary catheter with the permanent fistula.
When The Weekly Gleaner tried to reach Crystal over the weekend she had been booked for a dialysis session, but she had expressed her gratitude to Dr. Clarke and called the gesture
‘a dream come true’ .
“I am so grateful to you (Dr Clarke),” Campbell said. “There are no words to express.”
But Dr Clarke, cousin of New York council woman Yvette Clarke, says the trip is not unusual as HELP JA, through its yearly medical missions, brings down a team of doctors who volunteer time and services, organize fund raisers and mission trips, adopt schools and award several scholarships to persons and communities across the island.
“Once we can help, we will help,” he said.
The group operates both by invitation and when they see a need often targeting specific communities across the island.
“We have been to several communities and parishes, areas like; Point Hill in St. Catherine, Trench Town, Tivoli Gardens, Kingston and St. Thomas,” he informed.
In between Dr Clarke undertakes follow-up trips, four to five times in the year.
He wished Campbell a speedy recovery and hoped that his organisation’s contribution would help ease her financial challenges to take care of her treatment.
SOURCE: Glenda Anderson (Jamaica Gleaner)
News Coordinator – Overseas Publications