Sickle cell not stopping top boy

July 01, 2019
Kenisha Hughes with her boys Jacquese (centre) and Javier.
Kenisha Hughes with her boys Jacquese (centre) and Javier.
Jacquese (right) with his brother Javier Jones who sometimes cares for him.
Jacquese (right) with his brother Javier Jones who sometimes cares for him.
Jacquese Jones shows off some of his trophies.
Jacquese Jones shows off some of his trophies.
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For three consecutive years, nine-year-old Jacquese Jones has been awarded the top boy in his grade at the Pembroke Hall Primary School, despite the fact that he barely gets to attend classes.

"Say school is in session for 150 days, Jacquese is probably in school for 90 of those days," his mother, Kenisha Hughes, said. The rest of those days, Jones spends either at home, or in the hospital coping with the pain of sickle cell disease.

"It's really hard to be in school, trying to pay attention, with the pain just all over your body," Jacquese told THE STAR. "I don't know when the pain is coming on, so that's the hard part. I just drink some water, come sit down, and then my arm starts hurting me. You never know when it comes on, so it's kinda hard for me to know exactly what I'm doing."

But despite not being able to attend school regularly, Jacquese has managed to maintain an average of more than 90 per cent. He told THE STAR that he wants to continue doing well academically, and dreams of being the scientist who will one day discover a cure for sickle cell disease.

Pursue my dream job

"It's really important to me because then I could pursue my dream job. I want to be a scientist. I want to create cures, like for cancer and sickle cell, and many other stuff," he said

His mother said she keeps Jacquese up to date with the school's curriculum via WhatsApp.

"His teacher usually puts the homework and study guide in the WhatsApp group, and when I get in from work, I check the group, and me and him go through. But whenever you seh study time, Jacquese falls asleep. He's not a little boy weh love to study. Him natural bright," she said. "He never disappoints me when it comes on to academics."

And although the disease puts limitations of what he's able to do physically, Jacquese said the support of family and friends inspires him to continue doing well.

"It's a bit stressful, to say the least. My two best friends would be on the field playing and I have to wait on the seating area for them to come over. And the seat is exposed to the sun, so whenever I sit there, I'd itch. Mi can't really go to play with my friends," he said. "Whenever I am sick , my mommy would always be there. If she is not here, my big brother looks after me. So I thank them most of the times."

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