Barbadian Joshua Sobers-Henry who is battling a rare blood disorder has left the island with a family member to seek treatment in the United States.
Last week, his distraught mother Carolann Sobers-Skeete, through the media, called on Barbadians to offer urgent financial assistance, and to make blood donations to help save the life of her son who was deteriorating at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital at a very rate.
The mother said that her son, a local soccer player and student of the Coleridge & Parry School, who was diagnosed with the blood disorder aplastic anaemia late last year needed to get to the National Institute of Health (NIH), Washington, for stem cell treatment.
As they were checking in at the Grantley Adams International Airport on Sunday, the mother and son, who were surrounded by family members and friends who gathered to see them off, were both in good spirits.
The tears which were present on Sobers-Skeete’s face when she spoke to Barbados TODAY last week were replaced by a smile as she told a team from the online newspaper that happened to be present at the airport that she felt as though the fight to get her son the required treatment was “finally going somewhere”.
She said his treatment and recovery were expected to be a long journey. However, the family was putting plans in place to handle the emotional and financial burden that it would bring.
“The doctor says he is strong enough to fly as long as he gets through the lines quickly. He will be using a wheelchair right through until he gets to Washington. Just keep donating because it is going to be a long ride,” she said.
Meanwhile, Donnah Russell, executive director of Variety Club, the children’s charity which purchased the tickets for the mother and child also urged Barbadians to keep supporting the public appeal.
Russell also indicated that the process was only now beginning and that the family would need assistance along the way.
“We at Variety were happy that we were able to help Joshua because its a very, very difficult situation for any parent to be in. We are always happy when we can step in and help in any small way.
“But they still have a very long way to go so they still need the assistance of the public because there is living expenses and incidentals so they really need the help,” Russell explained.
Monetary contributions may be made to account #1259970 at City of Bridgetown Credit Union, Manor Lodge, Green Hill, St Michael, or Lower Broad Street, Bridgetown branch.
Aplastic anaemia is an extremely rare blood disorder in which the body’s bone marrow doesn’t make enough new blood cells, and if left untreated, has a high risk of death. The transfusions for Sobers-Henry are temporary as he needs to start stem cell treatment as soon as possible – if he is to successfully overcome the disease.