Sickle-cell patient seeks help to do surgery

April 25, 2019

Twenty-seven-year-old Adrian Gillespie was diagnosed with sickle cell at birth.

But his condition has worsened over time. In November last year, he was diagnosed with avascular necrosis, the death of bone tissue, which results in joint pain and limits the ability to move.

Gillespie told THE STAR that he experiences pain in his knees, hips and back.

"Right now, I can't walk around because it's really painful and ting. Sometime I lie down, I hardly can get up," he said.

He's scheduled to undergo hip-replacement surgery at The University Hospital of the West Indies on May 25. The surgery costs approximately J$1 million, and Gillespie said he's unable to afford it.

"I used to do welding, but I had to stop because of the pain. I live with my mother in Cross Hill, Clarendon. My mother is a domestic helper, but she not working right now because she has to stay around to help me with things that I can't really take up myself," he said.

Though sickle cell is among the illnesses covered under the National Health Fund, of which he is a member, he said that it does not cover surgery.

Gillespie said that to help him cover the cost, a friend created a GoFundMe account, but it has so far only received PS875 (approximately J$148,417) of its PS10,000 (approximately J$1.6 million) goal.

Gillespie said that his illness depresses him and that doing this surgery would give him his life back.

"Sometimes, I get so sad. I mean, I'm young, and now, I can't even get to move around," he said. "If I get to do this surgery, I would be so happy to get back on my feet again, to be able to work and help out, anything my mother want, because she's the one there taking care of me right now."

Persons willing to assist Gillespie can donate to his GoFundMe account at https://www.gofundme.com/help-adrian-gillespie or contact him at 876-404-6421.

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