Mother appeals for help for daughter with heart defect
Seven-year-old Jada Thorne of Bridge Street, The City, St Michael is an inquisitive karate student, dancer with the Israel Lovell Foundation, swimmer and a proud Brownie. Most of all, Jada has big dreams of becoming an international athlete. These are dreams shared and encouraged by Jada’s mother Coletta Phillip.
However, Phillip has lived in constant fear for several months that her daughter’s life could come to a crushing end at any moment.
Jada, a St Mary’s Primary School student, has been diagnosed with a heart defect which causes the muscular organ to work at a faster rate than normal.
There were signs that all was not well from the time the child was a baby, but the diagnosis was done in March of this year by cardiologist Dr Richard Ishmael.
“I went to Dr Ishmael and she went for all the tests at the hospital and Dr Ishmael came back and just say ‘mummy, this child has to go for surgery’.
“He was telling me that the heart is overworking so one day it will just decide to shut off, so he stopped her from doing track,” Phillip told Barbados TODAY.
In order to correct the defect, the child requires surgery as soon as possible, to be conducted at the Wolfson Children’s Hospital Jacksonville, Florida, United States at an estimated cost of BDS 66,000. It is a cost the 38-year-old general worker cannot afford, but money she is desperate to raise to save her only child.
She said she has been trying her best through small initiatives to gather as much of the needed funds as possible, but she knows that she needs some form of intervention.
“Please, I would like some help with my daughter. She is my only child. Anybody who has kids or a child would know how I am feeling. They say who feels it knows it but I don’t think that is true when it comes to a child.
“I really want the help and would go as far as I have to go to get it. I will beg who I have to beg to get it because it is for my child. It is not like it is her leg or her hand, it is her heart, and once that stops beating, that is it,” said Phillip.
There is little doubt that the mother of the seven-year-old is worried, her every action a reflection of the dread that envelopes her. Often when the child is asleep, Phillip monitors her and tries to make the child comfortable by shifting her position.
And there are the calls from the principal, “telling me ‘this child heart was beating so fast I was frightened’.
“I just want to get this money to get the surgery done. I do not know when this heart is going to give up. Whenever I wake up to pee, I would go and check to see if she is still . . . ” She did not complete the thought, but the dread was palpable.
“I would call her teacher and ask her teacher to check up on her and make sure that she is not doing too much. If she is staying with somebody for a while, I am always calling to make sure she is okay.
“It really frightens me [but] I just cannot let her see how I get sometimes because she is like ‘mummy what happen?’ And that would make her feel depressed.”
Struggling to deal with the emotional torture and uncertainty, Phillip shared that she recently started taking the child to church. On the sixth visit someone at the church declared that they needed to pray for Jada.
“The man say ‘we need to pray for this child because I see darkness. I don’t like what I see. I see darkness’. So obviously I started panicking and crying. They started praying. When she woke up the next day she said ‘mummy, I dream that I had wings and I went to heaven and I never came back’.
“I was like, ‘but mummy will miss you, you have to come back’. And she was like, ‘I cannot come back, maybe I can come and give you a kiss, but I cannot stay’. Maybe because she is a child she would feel excited. But as a mother, and she is my only child, it hurts and make me feel so sad,” an emotional Phillip told Barbados TODAY.
Unlike her mother, Jada has shown no fear. Her mother said the child is also very confident and not afraid to stand up to those who try to make fun of her.
“She has a little speech problem and she is a little slow on her speech. But sometimes she goes places [and] children laugh at her, but she tells them, ‘I have a problem but I am working at it’. So it don’t put her down, she doesn’t go into a shell. She comes third or second in class and she is really striving to come first. She is a loving child,” the mother explained.
Phillip has turned to Government for assistance to help fund her daughter’s surgery, but she was advised that she also needed to contribute to the cause. She has planned a fish fry on August 29 at Baxters Road, St Michael. She has also started a fundraising effort via Facebook and is asking the public to make donations at an account at Republic Bank #022820131001 or BNBBABBBB Bank identifier code [swift code].
Despite the trauma that Coletta Phillip has been experiencing she remains considerate and philosophical. She admitted that she was praying for a miracle, but said that while Jada’s health was a grave concern, she was cognizant that there were other people going through even more testing times.
“Don’t matter how hard you think something is, there is always somebody going through something harder. And you know what? That is life.”