Little Daniel needs $40,000 miracle
Eleven-month-old Daniel Best needs a miracle in six days –– a $40,000 plus one, to be exact. That money will give Daniel the opportunity to have what could very well be described as a life-saving test.
“I desperately need help,” says his mum Tanya, as she warmly looks at her smiling toddler.
“From the time he was three months old, we have been in and out of hospital with wheezing that just wouldn’t stop. They [doctors] have tried everything to stop the problem; but nothing works.”
It was last November that Tanya realized something was wrong with her precious son who was often sick.
“He was about three months when we had to take him to the hospital, where they nebulized him, I think, six times. We were discharged, but then we had to go back soon after.
“The most traumatic occasion was when he had to be nebulized 11 times.
“He was in hospital November, December and January. Then in-between there I was at the hospital every single week in the asthma bay until May.”
Tanya, who had to give up her job to care for her son, is anxious to get a conclusive diagnosis –– but it can’t be made here.
“His doctors suspect it’s something called cystic fibrosis. There are no facilities here that can do the testing to confirm it in Barbados. There is no one here that can prescribe the medication for him. So we have to go overseas.”
Cystic fibrosis a life-threatening disease caused by a defective gene. It creates a sticky mucus that affects the lungs and other internal organs. There is no cure for cystic fibrosis, but there have been significant improvements in treatment –– which is a must for patients.
A child diagnosed with the disease can live up to seven years without treatment, while one who is treated can survive up to age 35.
In Barbados, there are three diagnosed cases of the diseases –– all boys.
Doctors have strongly advised Tanya to have the tests done urgently; and, as a result, she has booked a trip to the United States for next Monday. It will cost Tanya $50,000.
“The appointment is July 27. We need to get out of here, because he is not digesting food; and he is on milk for malabsorption, which means his body isn’t retaining anything. That can trigger other things.”
Tanya, the mother of two other children, has been trying to raise the funds on her own, after she suffered a major setback when her insurance company ended health coverage.
“Danielle was covered under a group medical health plan up until last week Thursday. His doctor received correspondence saying that he would not be covered any more.
“So, while I was depending on the coverage, I was left bascially out to sea to find all the money by myself. That was very hard. I’ve heard so many nos.
“So I started to do some buttons. I have started a Facebook page –– Help Daniel Breathe –– to get the word out there. I’ve opened an account at Scotiabank with Daniel’s name to get help.”
So far, Tanya has raised $7,000.
“I need all the help that I can get. Daniel is 11 months, and I believe he has a lot of life in him. I need help!”
She admits that at first glance most people think the ever-smiling, chubby, playful infant is just as normal as any other baby; but that’s not the case.
“I go through about ten to 15 Pampers a day, which amounts to a box of Pampers a week. He is always sweating. He wheezes constantly.
“It is always hard to see him with the mask on his face almost every hour when he has to be nebulized at the hospital.
“Right now he isn’t digesting food. As soon as you feed him and change him, you are feeding him again. So, it is like he is always hungry. At 11 months he weights 30 pounds because of the steroids he has to take.”
Daniel’s symptoms are very familiar to the members of the The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, which has stepped forward to assist Tanya, even though it has not been confirmed that Daniel has the disease.
Foundation president Michael Turton says that in addition to helping Tanya make the arrangements for her overseas trip, his group would make a financial donation this week.
“We have communicated with the Cystic Fibrosis Service Centre in New York. We have communicated with the doctors up there and we’ve been working with [Tanya] to have the appointment scheduled. We are working [on] somewhere she can stay without paying at least for about two weeks. This week we will also present a cash donation of $2,000.
“Our appeal really is for her to get the visa to travel and for Barbadians to give to offset the costs. We are hoping that she can get close to the US$25,000; and she is only at BDS$7,000 with a ticket.”
In the meantime, the Best family are keeping hope alive.
Daniel’s condition, though stressful, has not dampened the spirit of the bright-eyed infant, who’s fondly called the “joy baby” because he is constantly smiling.
“Daniel is the boss; Daniel would try to take everything as if it is his. Now he is starting to walk and interacting with them, he is moving a little fast. When he sees them, he gets very excited,” Tanya says with a chuckle.
His shy four-year-old brother Nathan says: “I love playing with Daniel, and I want him to get better.”
Their six-year-old sister Arianna nods in agreement as she tickles her baby brother, who is busy playing with his car.
“There is nothing more I want to see than Daniel celebrate his first birthday next month. I just want a diagnosis so I can provide him with best care. I am not giving up,” Tanya says.