by Marlon Madden
Time is of the essence for 73-year-old Helen Mayers to raise funds so she could do a critical surgery.
It is for this reason that avid walker Johnson JohnRose, the man who walked around Barbados twice before, has decided to take on a challenge to help this woman he has never met, but felt compelled to assist.
“I know these are extremely tough times, but for those of us who are healthy, these tough times are nothing compared to what this grandmother and family must be going through. So, if all you can contribute are a few cents/pennies or one dollar/quid, they’ll appreciate it. This gran gran needs your support, please contribute. Every little bit helps,” he said in a Facebook post.
JohnRose, who is expected to be joined by others tomorrow on his quest, will be embarking on a more than 20 kilometre walk in an effort to help raise funds for Mayers, who was recently diagnosed with breast cancer.
Mayers’ 22-year-old granddaughter Jaelle Ramdin has already set up a GoFundMe account – Help my granny beat breast cancer – for anyone who wishes to donate. So far, this has raised just over half the $6,000 required for Mayers to receive several tests and treatment. She is expected to eventually receive a mastectomy to help halt the spread of the disease.
Ramdin told Barbados TODAY, while her family continued to be overwhelmed by the development, they were equally amazed by the outpouring of support they have been getting since they went public with the news.
“I have a lot of friends on social media who reached out emotionally. It has been overwhelming the amount of support I have gotten from them,” said Ramdin.
“People have been donating that I don’t know. They are coming out to help. So it has been really overwhelming in good ways,”
It was in early October that her grandmother was diagnosed with breast cancer; this, after a couple tests earlier this year.
“She had a mammogram, and they said it looked okay, it looked like a cyst, and then they called her back in October to have another mammogram done, which is when they said it looks like signs of cancer.
“So she had to get a biopsy done, and the result had to be sent to Canada for them to find out, and then she was diagnosed in the beginning of October,” recalled Ramdin.
Mayers, whose mother was a victim of breast cancer, is due to meet with her surgeon on December 3 in order to get the all-clear for her mastectomy, which the family is also hoping could be done in December and in Barbados.
Ramdin told Barbados TODAY her mother, who lost her job earlier this yearas a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,
was “in a mess”.
Pointing out that family members were helping with what they could, Ramdin said it was simply not enough given that most of them were retired.
“My mother lost her job because of the COVID-19 pandemic, so it is just kind of a struggle.
“My mother is very attached to her mother, so she is just in a mess knowing she can’t help to get her the care that she needs,”
In relation to Saturday’s walk, Ramdin said for JohnRose to do this to help raise funds made her even more emotional and thankful.
Ramdin wants all Barbadians to take the issue of cancer seriously, saying, “It is very important to check yourself and have scheduled check-ups and follow-ups. If you think something is wrong, don’t say it is nothing
and dismiss it.”
JohnRose, who enjoys walking long distances, said he will start his walk tomorrow at 5 a.m. from his home in Kingsland, Christ Church to Warrens.
However, when he made this known recently, he challenged anyone who contributed just US$5 that they could call for an additional 5 kilometres on his initial 15 kilometres.
“So I am going to do 20 kilometres from Kingsland,” said JohnRose, who found that his challenge was immediately accepted.
He was hoping the $6, 000 GoFundMe target would be reached by Saturday so he could add another 10 kilometres to his journey, making it a total of 30 kilometres instead.
From Warrens, he is expected to go through Jackson, after which he is expected to meet Mayers.
“I know now people have very little money. People are struggling, people have lost their jobs, and some of those who are at work are having to take pay cuts.
“So it is hard. But I feel that amidst all this and amidst this terrible COVID and bad news, this is as good a time to do something good for someone whom you have never met. If ever there was a time to do something good, this is the time,” he said.
In 2016, JohnRose completed a walk around Manhattan island in about 10 hours to raise funds for the Barbados Cancer Society and the Caribbean Tourism Organization Scholarship Foundation.