New hope for man fighting cancer
When Jovayne Bailey was diagnosed with stage four cancer last December - and when efforts to get him immediate help were met with one disappointment after another - the 20-year-old was secretly falling into depression.
But his situation has taken a positive turn as a medical visa was granted and he is now in the USA preparing for surgery. Bailey's story was carried in THE STAR on Thursday, September 9, after he and his mother, Venice Williams, turned up at the publication's North Street offices seeking help from the public.
Squamous cell cancer
During the interview Williams shared that her son, who was diagnosed with squamous cell cancer in December, needed radiation therapy before he could undergo surgery. She also disclosed that having applied to the US Embassy in Kingston for a medical visa, Bailey had only managed to secure a February 2023 appointment date. The wait, Williams noted, would have been too long for her son. The cancer had caused a massive swelling on his face that was affecting his sight and hearing.
However, Bailey, who hails from Springfield, Barking Lodge, in St Thomas, was contacted by the Embassy on the day the article was published and, after a successful application process, was granted a medical visa. An elated Bailey, after safely landing in Brooklyn, New York, where he is set to begin medical treatment at the Perlmutter Cancer Center, told THE STAR that he was at a loss for words and is hopeful for a successful surgery.
"I cannot begin to thank Jamaica for the outpouring of support and love. I am very grateful for everything, even though at times I became very depressed, I never lost faith," he said.
It was the first time Bailey, who wants to one day become a soldier, was travelling outside of Jamaica.
"But I have to give thanks ... I never thought that my first time on a plane was going to be like this. Everything has been going smooth so far and fast, but I am hoping that it will continue like this so I can return to my normal life," he added.
Bailey's problems started in September 2020 when he visited the Isaac Barrant Health Centre in St Thomas, with the hope of extracting a tooth that was causing him much pain.
The former St Thomas Technical High School student had complained about a toothache, and after several unsuccessful visits to the health centre, he was given a referral to the Kingston Public Hospital, where it was established that he had cancer.