Four-year-old Dahnelia Davis would usually see her peers heading to school and often questioned her mother Melecia Clarke about not being unable to attend.
Her query was usually met with the most unfortunate answer from her mom, “Baby, you are sick and you will not be able to go”.
On July 21, 2022, Dahnelia was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) — a type of cancer of the blood and bone marrow — which progresses rapidly and creates immature blood cells, rather than mature ones.
Clarke explained that due to the condition, her daughter is more prone to flu, common cold and infections, so she opted out on sending her to school.
“The moment I found out, it was gut-wrenching to hear. I didn’t know what to do, nor what to think. I could not even process the news. I didn’t know what to say to her because she was supposed to start school that same year,” she told the Jamaica Observer.
“She is unable to go out into the environment with other kids because she is now more vulnerable to illnesses. If somebody at home is sick, she cannot be at home. These days I am trying to teach her myself. It is a bit challenging but she is getting there,” she added.
Explaining how she found out about the diagnosis, Clarke said her daughter fell and hit her hip while playing at their house in St Thomas, but she decided to not looking into the issue, as she thought she was not seriously hurt.
However, days after the incident, Dahnelia started crying for her hip, which prompted her to take her to Bustamante Hospital for Children.
“I brought her to the hospital and they did some blood tests on her red blood cells and platelets and found out that her blood count was extremely low. They sent her home for two weeks, and they repeated the blood test and it was a lot lower. She was admitted to the Bustamante Hospital for Children where she did some tests and some bone marrow biopsy revealing that she had ALL,” she said.
In December that same year, the news got even more devastating.
“She felt sad and I have to tell her it is going to be okay but during December the head doctor called me into a meeting and told me that they did the last bone marrow biopsy and it is not good because she already did three rounds of chemotherapy, and it’s not working so the best solution now is a bone marrow transplant,” she said.
She now needs approximately US$80,000 for her child to do surgery at a hospital in India.
“I would really like to get her out the island by August to do the transplant. It would mean the world to me. She is the only child I have, and I would really appreciate all the help I can get,” she said.
“Before the diagnosis she was confident, bubbly, playful but since being on medication, she has been moody, and she lost her hair so she doesn’t feel as beautiful as she felt before,” she added.
Those wishing to assist may contact Clarke at 876-226-9757 or donate through GoFundMe using link: https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-dahnelia-beat-acute-lymphoblastic-leukemia