10-y-o on verge of going blind
Katheriel Johnson, 10, is one of the excelling fourth grade students at Port Henderson Primary in Portmore, St Catherine, whose pictures are posted on the school's notice board for scoring an average above 80 per cent on the school's end of school year exams last year.
But it is almost certain that his picture will be removed from that elite club because his grades have fallen drastically because he is no longer able to see the teacher's blackboard due to a tumour that is growing on his optic nerve.
It has blinded his left eye and is threatening to do the same to the right.
If he doesn't immediately undergo surgery to correct the problem, he will lose his sight completely, a team of doctors at the University Hospital of the West Indies told his mother in a letter.
When Johnson and his mother, Kasey-Ann Fuller, visited The Gleaner's North Street offices yesterday, Johnson, hugging his mother tightly, said: "I'm scared! I don't want to go blind."
According to the doctors, condition that Johnson has developed is called optic glioma and cannot be corrected in Jamaica because of a lack of equipment.
"When he started complaining that he couldn't see, I took him to the doctor and I was told to do an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging)," Fuller recalled. "When I got the results and went back to the doctor, he said that the reason why he is not seeing is because he has a tumour that is resting on the optic nerve."
Fuller said that her son was referred to the University Hospital of the West Indies, where a group of neurosurgeons examined the MRI results and confirmed that the tumour was indeed resting on the optic nerve.
She said her son was accepted to do the surgery at the Miami Neuroscience Centre at Larkin in South Florida.
"The surgery is going to cost US$21,725.00 (approximately J$ 2.6 million) and I am seeking the public's assistance," Fuller said. "The doctors in Miami also say that it has to be done before August because they are booked for the rest of the year."
Fuller has set up an account at the Portmore Pines Scotiabank branch and is asking those who wish to render an assistance to make their contributions to this account. 533452.)