Gayle family to get free surgery in US
After years of painful ridicule due to a congenital disease called Crouzon's syndrome that causes them to look different, Cherry Gayle and her two daughters have been accepted to undergo a free life-changing surgery overseas.
THE WEEKEND STAR received a copy of a letter from the Beaumont Health System in Royal Oak, Michigan, confirming that 44-year-old Gayle, and her daughters, Mary Brown, seven, and Alicia Marie Davidson, 15, were accepted to undergo free medical treatment at the facility since December 2016.
The surgeries will be completed in several stages, which will require them to stay in the US for a year for evaluation, surgery, appointments and follow-ups.
Crouzon's syndrome is a condition in which sutures in the head are prematurely fused resulting in abnormal growth of the skull and face.
Persons may have bulging eyes, a receding upper jaw, protruding lower jaw, and may have dental problems due to abnormal jaw growth.
Last year, when the newspaper visited the family at their single room abode in Thompson pen, St Catherine, Gayle shared that it had been challenging living with the condition as they are often mocked and teased about their eyes.
Alicia Marie was also sometimes physically attacked at school.
But before they can take up the opportunity, they will need assistance with visa application fees, plane fare, and a stipend.
Accommodation has already been taken care of by the Ronald McDonald House of Charities, the philanthropic arm of fast food franchise McDonald's.
Gayle's brother, Richard, who also acts as their guardian, said they are all very happy and excited about the prospects.
"Me well want them get the assistance. Me see a picture with some people who go to the same doctor with them eye did stay a way, and it come back normal," Richard said.
Arrangements with the hospital were made possible by a Kingston-based medical consultant, Yvonne Campbell, who has a family member who suffered from the same condition.
She runs Velo-Cardio-Facial Syndrome Jamaica, a support group for persons with the disorder.
"We are part of a worldwide organisation, with support groups in almost every country. We have networks with doctors abroad to help people with these disorders and to do it pro bono, because it would have been extremely costly. Even if you're a millionaire, these things can break you," Campbell said.
According to hospital stipulations, a guardian will have to accompany Gayle and her daughters, so Richard will also travel with them.
Campbell, who is trying to secure funding for the family to travel estimates that US$4,800 or just under J$617,000 should cover their needs.
The surgeries were slated to commence at the end of October, however, it might be delayed if the finances are not in order.
Those wishing to assist can contact Yvonne Campbell at 876-546-9782