Five-year-old Naisha Greenidge is a beautiful little girl who loves to colour. And like most normal children, Naisha loves to ask lots of questions. However, unlike normal children her age, the young child is not allowed to run about and play outside, because she gets tired quickly and is easily short of breath.
Naisha suffers from a condition known as transposition of the great arteries (TGA), a rare but serious congenital heart defect in which the two main arteries leaving the heart are reversed, changing the way blood circulates through the
body and leaving a shortage of oxygen in blood flowing from the heart to the rest of the body.
Without corrective surgery, severe cases of TGA can be fatal during the first six months of life, according to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Even those who have had surgery to correct TGA sometimes suffer from leaky heart valves, problems with the coronary arteries, abnormal heart rhythm, a decline in function of the heart muscle or heart valves, heart failure and damage to the lungs and difficulty breathing, and will require lifelong follow-up with a cardiologist., the CDC stated.
Even so, with proper treatment, most babies with TGA grow up to lead healthy, productive lives, it said.
Naisha underwent open-heart surgery at the Wolfson Children’s Hospital in Jacksonville, Florida when she was three months old and the hope was she would lead a healthy life.
However, she has continued to face heart problems and her condition has worsened. Her cardiologist Dr Richard Ishmael told her mother Natasha Greendige recently that the child needed surgery again as soon as possible.
“If she don’t get it, she would die,” a heartbroken Greenidge told Barbados TODAY.
The mother, who expressed her undying love and devotion for her child, said through the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH), the surgery was being scheduled to take place at the same hospital in Florida at a cost of $66,000.
“I can’t afford this on my own. Getting this money is not easy for me. Daddy works, he is a painter but he is trying his best. I do a flea market about twice a month to bring in extra money, but $66,000 is a lot of money,” she said.
Greenidge explained that she was informed by a social worker at the QEH that Government would make a contribution, however, that amount was uncertain.
“I would like to ask the public to give any assistance they can offer to give her a chance at life. Please help me to give my child a chance at life because she deserves it,” pleaded, the hurting mother.
In addition to organizing a flea market for September 26, Greenidge has also sought the help of Member of Parliament Trevor Prescod in organizing a fundraising concert. An account has also been set up at the Royal Bank of Canada Account #-09435-7778079.
As Naisha prepares to enter school at St Giles Primary her growing chest is causing her pulmonary valve to become narrow, causing her heart to work harder to pump enough blood through the body.
“She has been getting a lot of short of breath recently and that is the doctor’s main concern. If she gets a cold she would wheeze and then her oxygen level would drop, so we try really hard not to let she get colds at all,” she explained.
She said the child was not allowed to spend much time outside.
“I would allow her to go through the gap for a little walk but to go on the pasture and run around, no, because she gets too much short of breath. If she plays a lot, like running and stuff she gets short of breath. People would see her looking through the window and would be like ‘Naisha you mummy ain’t carrying you outside’? But I always got she inside and people always quarreling with me, but I know the complications she have when she go outside and run bout wild.”
Greenidge, of The Ivy, St Michael recalled the moments leading up to Niasha’s diagnosis. The pediatrician had come to see the baby on the ward for the first time when “he tell me her lips look blue and stuff like that”.
“When he listened to the heart, he was hearing a heart murmur and he took her downstairs to run some test.
“Then he told me that it sound like she has a defect and that they have to run [more] tests. They admitted her to the Neonatal Intensive Care unit and I was hoping that everything would be okay. They did more tests and two days after they broke the news to me,” she said.
For the upcoming fundraising flea market, interested persons can donate stuff to sell or pay $50 to rent a space.