I have been in denial - Toni Haughton loses fight to dreaded illness

May 15, 2017

While many mothers in Jamaica were being pampered yesterday for Mother's Day, Wendy Miller, 52, was reminiscing on the omelette and steamed bammy her daughter, Toni Haughton, prepared for her last Mother's Day.

"She got up before me, which is unusual, and asked me what I wanted and made the breakfast, then she helped me with my make-up and told me that she loves me before I went to church," Miller recalled.

The memory came flooding back after Haughton, Miller's only child, lost her battle with liver cirrhosis late Friday evening at the University Hospital of the West Indies. The 20 year old, was pursuing a biochemistry degree at the University of the West Indies. She had to be rushed to the hospital just over a week ago after the liver cirrhosis illness she has been battling for last three years worsened.




"I have been in denial so I haven't given myself an opportunity to cry. It's just hard but I intend to have a foundation in her honour because I don't want other parents to go through this."

Haughton discovered that she had liver cirrhosis just after she took up a scholarship to attend Howard University in Washington DC.

"Up to Monday, I saw her and she was happy and alive and chirpy, but she developed an infection so they had to be treating it with antibiotics," Miller told THE STAR. "But they couldn't treat it as aggressively as they would with a person with a normal liver and from Tuesday it has been downhill."

Miller told THE STAR that after learning of what was happening to her daughter, she began to understand why she used to sleep through classes when she was at Wolmer's High School for Girls.

"One of the things about this illness is that it affects your sleeping cycle. When I want to go to bed at night she would be up and when we are up during the day, she wants to sleep," Miller explained.

Despite Haughton's irregular sleeping pattern, she was able to pass all of the nine CSEC examinations she sat in 2012. She also did exceptionally well on her CAPE examinations, and was offered the scholarship to Howard.

But the illness had wrecked her body so badly while she was at Howard that it caused her to lose her scholarship.

"When she came back, I decided that I am still going to send her to school. So I took out a mortgage and she started UWI," Miller said. "But because she realised that financially things were hard for me, in January of last year she found a job and she started working."

Haughton was still working up to the time her condition worsened.

"She was working and what she was doing was hiding that she was in pain but for the simple reason that her exams were to finish on the 19th of May and she didn't want me to know that because she was trying to push," Miller said.

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