Praying for a miracle - Mom asks for help as 13-y-o daughter battles lupus
Thirteen-year-old Gabrian Ashbourne has not been to school since 2020. And this is not because she, like thousands of students, opted to exit the formal education system after the COVID-19 pandemic appeared on the nation's shores. Instead, the youngster has been forced out of the classroom by the debilitating effect of lupus that appeared in her life like a thief in the night.
Her mother, Kerry-Ann Ford, told THE WEEKEND STAR that except for being asthmatic, Gabrian was fairly healthy. She was leading a normal childhood and was a top student at Horizon Park Primary School in St Catherine. However, when the youngster began complaining about joint pains and lost her appetite in 2020, her mother got worried and sought medical attention.
"We took her to the doctor but the doctor said she didn't like how she looked, and we should take her to the hospital for some tests. She was having a lot of joint pain and her hair was falling off. She did the tests and the results came back that she had lupus," Ford said.
"When I got the news, I wanted to run out in a car because she is a very bright child and she has lot of potential."
There's no cure, but symptoms can improve if treatment starts early.
The youngster, who was fascinated with the sciences, has not been able to take her place at Jonathan Grant High School also in St Catherine as a result of her illness.
"From the time she has been diagnosed, she has been in and out of hospital month after month, and she is in constant pain. There was a point where she couldn't walk," a broken Ford said.
The medical cost of supporting young Gabrian has surpassed $1.5 million at the University Hospital of the West Indies. Ford said the family's resources have been depleted, and has appealed for help to assist Gabrian in her fight with lupus.
"My baby takes 25 pills daily, and she doesn't sleep at nights because she is in so much pain. Right now we are really just praying for a miracle. We are reaching out to anybody who is willing to help. We hope this article will reach even the prime minister's eyes because we are trying to give her a little more time to live. Our pockets are empty right now," Ford said.
Due to Gabrian's weakened immune system, she cannot travel in public transportation, lest she risks contracting infections. Each trip to the doctor runs the family $5,000 as they have to depend on a chartered taxi. And despite the pain, Gabrian's thirst for knowledge remains unquenched. Sadly, her family can only think about how lovely it would be for her to get a private tutor. However, given the shallowness of their pockets, they can only hope and pray for a miracle.
Anyone wishing to assist Gabrian Ashbourne may contact her mother, Kerry-Ann Ford at (876) 574-2026.