Blackburn struggles with death of daughter

November 16, 2018
Zhazarae Blackburn, deceased daughter of local footballer Marcelino Blackburn. The two-year-old died of sickle cell disease on October 30, 2018.

With tears flowing from his eyes, former national youth player Marcelino Blackburn is still trying to come terms with the death of his two-year-old daughter Zhazarae, who passed away on October 30th after a short battle with sickle cell disease.

Blackburn, who currently plays for Harbour View in the Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL) competition, was still very shaken when STAR Sports visited his house in Kingston on Wednesday, as he tried to come to grips with Zhazarae’s death.

Zhazarae, is the fifth of Blackburn’s six children, whose ages range from two to 16. 

“I am very devastated because it is the first time that I am experiencing something like this and so it is shocking to me,” said Blackburn.

“Up to now I am in a lost world because I can’t even train or play any games or anything like that because it was very shocking how it happened,” he said.

“Shortly after she was born, we found out that she had sickle disease because I have the trait and her mom also has the trait, so she got the full blown sickle cell disease,” Blackburn said.

The usually energetic footballer added that Zhazarae could have lived much longer if they had taken her to the doctor much sooner.

“It is just an unfortunate situation that she ended up going to the doctor late and the doctor told us she should have come a day before. They told us that the baby came to the doctor late when the disease had already hit her brain, causing it to swell,” Blackburn said. 

“She was in a coma for two weeks and after that, the doctor told us that we have to prepare for her death,” he said. 

The 34-year-old Blackburn said that Zhazarae's death has taken a toll in his body because he has not played or trained with Harbour View since his daughter’s death.


"I haven't played for four games now and I haven't been to training either. I have been crying everyday and having headaches. I use to have been pain in my belly, but the headaches are non-stop,” said Blackburn as he looked to the heavens. 

“Just seeing her pictures just brings back headaches and tears to my eyes, because I don’t know if I am going to get over it, as it is very hard for me,” he said. “I was supposed to training this week but I don’t have the drive to do it because I am still weak. But hopefully, next will can start training again,” Blackburn reasoned.

“Zhazarea was a very active child because she was two-years-old, but she looks like a three-year-old child. She was growing very fast and she was learning very fast, and everybody loves her. She was very pretty child and she will be missed.

Blackburn, who began his career with his hometown team Arnett Gardens, stated that he has received support from around the RSPL.

“I have gotten a lot of support from Harbour View and also from my former club Arnett Gardens, as well as most of the teams in the league, so that part of it is good,” he said. 
"As the days goes by, I just have to pray and ask God for strength, because this is really tough for me and my family," Blackburn said.  

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