Help us with our son - Couple pleads for assistance to fund critical therapy sessions

July 10, 2019
Andrew Anthony ‘AJ’ Lloyd
Andrew Anthony ‘AJ’ Lloyd
AJ and his parents Andrew and Nicola.
AJ and his parents Andrew and Nicola.

For Andrew and Nicola Lloyd from Moneague, St Ann, the best moment in their lives happened five years ago, when their son Andrew Anthony 'AJ' Lloyd was born.

But when AJ was not developing as a normal baby should they began to have concerns.

"While going to the UHWI (University Hospital of the West Indies) when he was six or seven months old, we were getting different diagnoses saying that he had cerebral palsy. Then we heard that it's global developmental delay, then we heard that it has something to do with mental retardation," Nicola told THE STAR.

Not satisfied with these diagnoses, his parents decided to seek a second opinion at the Johns Hopkins Medicine International in Baltimore, Maryland.

Here, he was diagnosed with Ohtarara Syndrome, a brain disorder.

"He's able to sit up, but he's not able to feed himself, or talk. I think he understands a little, like if you go and talk to him, he will smile. Sometimes he cries, and we don't really know what happens," she said

Nicola said they were able to afford the more than US$3,500 consultation at Johns Hopkins through assistance from the Ministry of Health, and sponsorship.

Johns Hopkins doctors told her that with therapy, her son would be able to live a normal life.

"They said his brain was not damaged. It's a little bit small, but he's still able to learn, and achieve some of his milestones. The doctor said that once we get him into a programme like what they have at Johns Hopkins, he will be able to achieve some if not all of his milestones," she said.

But the couple, who owns a small business where they do binding, laminating, typing and printing, was unable to afford the therapy.

So Nicola said she began to research places that were more affordable.

"In January of this year, we reached out to the Neurological and Physical Abilitation Center in Waltham, Massachusetts. The manager from the centre contacted us. AJ was placed on a waiting list, and he is now off the waiting list since May," she said.

AJ's therapy sessions were initially scheduled from July 8 to 26 and cost US$6,900 overall. These therapies are geared at improving his balance, fine motor skills, speech, and to develop his functional skills.

"Our accommodation is US$3,907 and the airfare over US$2,800 round trip," she added.

If they are able to go, Andrew and Nicola are hoping the institution will extend the dates for the therapy sessions.

If AJ is able to do this therapy, Nicola said her son would get a second chance at life.

"I want him to be independent. He has the potential, he's very smart, so wi trying with him. I know that AJ will get a fighting chance to actually do something," she said

Persons willing to assist AJ can contact his parents at 876-820-4484 or 876-819-3159.

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