Little Neymar dies from heart condition

April 04, 2019

When Charmaine Astley reached out to THE STAR weeks ago, her only hope was to get much-needed help for her ailing four-year-old son, Neymar Bennett, who required heart surgery.

But today, she will no longer be anticipating that new heart or a remedy for her son's ill health.

Instead, she spends her days praying for the strength and the resources to begin her son's funeral arrangements.

"Neymar was born with two holes in the heart, his heart was enlarged and pressed on his lungs, making it hard for him to breathe ... He died Saturday morning at the Mandeville Hospital. He was in the week before. He got a stroke the Thursday of that week. He was later discharged from hospital and I had him home with me," said Astley.

She said that last Friday, before her son's death, he suffered a second stroke and seizures, but there was nothing the doctors could do; the strength of his heart could only carry him one more day.

According to Astley, her son was on the surgery waiting list for two years.

"I was with him at his bedside until he took the last breath ... . I feel so down and depressed, but God knows best because I could see that he was in pain and I couldn't help him. It is hard to lose a child, though. (Since his death) I have not been sleeping well; I am trembling, my body is just nervous," she said.

Astley said she had been in dialogue with a cardiologist at the University Hospital of the West Indies, Dr William Foster, who was working with her to secure surgery and further treatment for Neymar overseas. But her son could not hold out.

"There was a surgery that Neymar was to do about a year ago, but he was on a list and his heart just got worse as he waited. The four walls of his heart were bad, and so when I did the tests and sent them to Dr Foster, we would still have to wait to see if the hospital in Boston, USA, would take on Neymar's case with fixing the heart or giving him a new heart," she said.

Astley, who had opened an account to receive donations for Neymar's surgery, said she is leaving it open, as she still wants all the help she can get to bury her son.

"I had planned to close the account but as a single mother, it is hard, financially and otherwise, to bury a child. I am pleading to anyone who can help to do so; I would greatly appreciate it," she said.

Donations can be made to: Neymar Bennett, National Commercial Bank Mandeville branch, account number: 504749371

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