Aug 15, 2010 News
Rockel Gladstone, 20, of Kimbia, Berbice River was scheduled to leave Guyana yesterday for India to undergo a much needed kidney transplant.
The trip is made possible by Three Rivers Kids Foundation, a charitable organisation in Ontario, Canada.
Rockel will be exchanging places with 19-year-old Satish Gobin, of Anna Caterina, who underwent a successful kidney transplant on June 23, 2010. Satish is due to return to Guyana soon to begin his new life, according to Jeanette Singh, Head of the Foundation.
The cost of Satish’s trip to India was approximately US$36,000. This included airfares, cost of the surgery, accommodation and food for six weeks, one year of medication and other miscellaneous expenses in India.
The Ministry of Health contributed US$5,000 and Three Rivers Kids Foundation paid the remaining portion. Satish was accompanied by both his parents.
Rockel, her father Frank Gladstone and her brother Randy Gladstone were due to arrive in Toronto last night.
Frank Gladstone will be donating one of his kidneys to save his only daughter. They will stay overnight in Toronto and will leave for Batra Hospital in Delhi on Sunday afternoon. They are expected to stay in India for six weeks, Singh said.
Rockel Gladstone was diagnosed with renal failure early last year after experiencing ill health since 2005. She required dialysis treatment twice weekly in Georgetown because of her non-functioning kidneys but her family was struggling to cover the costs.
“She is my only daughter and I would do anything to save her life. She is still very young; the third of five children. When she does not receive the dialysis she gets delirious. On any given day she can only use about 20 ounces of fluid whether it is tea, water or whatever,” said Cheryl Gladstone.
“We had to pay $80,000 weekly for two dialysis sessions for my daughter plus transportation from Berbice. How can I afford something like that? I am just a poor peanut and red-bean farmer,” said Frank Gladstone.
Singh said that she met the Gladstone family on June, 11, 2010 when she was in Guyana to accompany Satish Gobin to India.
“Rockel held both my hands, looked at me in the eyes and said, ‘you are the only one who can help me, you have to help’ in her quiet and ladylike manner,” said Singh.
“I felt her pain and suffering, I could see it in her eyes. I saw the desperation. I promised her that I would get her out of Guyana by the end of July.”
Singh said the Gladstones organised many fundraising activities in Guyana to help raise some of the funds needed for Rockel’s kidney transplant. They are very grateful to everyone who donated money to help make this trip possible.
Singh said that she would especially like to thank Taiwo Stuart-Worrell of Caribbean Airlines for all the help she has given to Three Rivers Kids Foundation over the years, and continues to do so whenever she is asked.
Meanwhile, Singh has urged the general public to be cautious when responding to appeals of this type. The Foundation has experienced occasions where unscrupulous persons solicit money for their own means, using this kind of situation to raise funds for their own personal greed.
She advised persons who want to donate to exercise some measure of caution and ask questions.
Information is easily available by calling the Foundation at 225-7758 or checking their website at www.threeriverskidsfoundation.org.
Ismay Spooner 109, cheerful and still going strong
By Melissa Johnson
LITTLE AFRICA, CORRIVERTON – The feisty 109-year old Ismay Spooner of Little Africa, Eliza and Mary, Corriverton is still clinging to life, enjoying every moment and spreading good cheer.
I first met her in January this year and we made an instant connection. I have met quite a few persons who achieved the age of 100 and beyond, but never have I had the joy of meeting one as feisty as this 109-year old.
Back then in January, the feisty ‘ole gal’, who is my new best friend, had said she knows there is a reason I became a part of her life.
“You think is by magic you (Melissa Johnson) were sent into my life? No, it’s for a reason. Some day you would know the reason but by then I gone. Is the Spirit of the Lord move us and we would always be good friends, girl.
The Lord works in mysterious ways and we don’t always understand how or know why. If God is not in the picture, nothing doing child, nothing doing. May the good Lord keep you safe and you continue being a good girl.”
Though I do not visit her that often, we communicate on the telephone, although it is difficult with her hearing being not so good. I always enquire how she is doing. On Friday I spent some time with her. Her memory was just as good as it has always been. When I asked her if she recognised the voice, she responded with a giggle.
“Of course I remember you. You’re my friend, the girl who visit me and bring things for me. You bring a radio and some other things for me from some people overseas.”
She was born in Barbados on December 27th 1900. Along with her parents, she came to Guyana sometime around 1910/1911. After all those years, the lucid lady still holds tightly to her ‘Bajan’ accent. “My parents came to Guyana as labourers and I come with them when I was about 10 or 11 (years old). That was the time they were bringing people to clean up Guyana. They were bringing slaves to clean up. Guyana wasn’t like what it is now. I work in the back dam and couldn’t go to school.
They worked us and gave us eight cents. But that was when eight cents was eight cents and you could buy whatever you wanted. We worked in rain and shine to survive.”
She is not the only one in her family to enjoy longevity, her mother made it to 102. She outlived her husband as well. Mrs. Ismay Spooner gave birth to one but raised several other children.
“I adopt plenty children. I had one child and she died in the U.S.A. at a young age. Me ain’t got nobody but God and these here who take care of me.”
The centenarian is now in the care of two sisters – Iris and Virgina February, whose mother was her dear friend many years ago. Ms. Iris February said she too is amazed at Mrs. Spooner’s memory and prays that her days continue to be as fulfilling as they are today.
In January we had this argument where she insisted that she would only live until June this year and would not go beyond that.
The disagreement began when I promised to return in December to join her in celebrating her 110th birth anniversary. “The time is already fixed. I am going to spend half of this year – January to June here and after them time done, I gone.”
So on Friday I reminded her of what she had said in January, and in her deep ‘Bajan’ accent, she answered, “Hahaha! Well I am waiting on the time when the Master would be ready to call me. I’m here just praying, waiting and begging for mercy. We all need to turn our life around.
Next year this time child, you won’t see me. Give my love to everyone I know.”
And at that point she burst out singing. “Oh Jesus my Redeemer I always think of you…”
When asked what her secret to longevity is, Mrs. Spooner responded, “He at the top knows. I was good to many people. In my young days I took care of many people. It’s God’s grace that I’m alive.”
She said that not only 2010 was good for her but each year there has been much to be thankful for.
“I sing, I pray and I talk to God every day. The Spirit of God talks to man but mankind doesn’t know the Spirit of God. Many times when we say our mind doesn’t feel like it, is not our mind, is God trying to tell us something. It’s God trying to give us a message. We don’t know.”
She said that with just a few weeks left of the August vacation, the children must at all times be obedient. “You all must behave like good girls and boys.”
Her last visit to the doctor was in 2004. Two weeks ago she was unwell but not even the flu could keep her down for long. She does not like going to the doctor.
“When you go to one doctor they tell you one thing and when you go to the other they tell you something else, so I don’t go. God takes care of me. I’m thankful to Him.”
She spends her days dishing out advice to the younger ones and sharing tips on how to enjoy a long life. Losing her sight 50-years ago is not enough to prevent her from seeing the best in every situation, even when others deem it hopeless.
When the usual old-age aches and pains step in, she brushes them aside and just continues to thank the Lord that she is still in the land of the living. Mrs. Spooner still moves around the home on her own and strives to be independent as far as possible and does not like being treated as a helpless person.
On December 27th, my friend is expected to celebrate her 110th birth anniversary. “I have no plans. I would just give thanks and praise for my unworthy life.”
And lustily signing, clapping her hands and smiling she continued, “Don’t try to tell me my God is dead, He woke me up today. Don’t try to tell me my God is dead, I spoke to Him today…”
And as usual when it is time for us to part company, she would give me a grand send off. “God be with you till we meet again…” she sang then said, “Travel safe.”
Was Jagdeo honest when he made those promises?
Sep 22, 2023Kaieteur Sports – A formidable team of fitness athletes arrived in Aruba yesterday to represent Guyana at the 50th edition of the Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Bodybuilding and Fitness...
Sep 22, 2023
Sep 22, 2023
Sep 22, 2023
Sep 22, 2023
Sep 22, 2023
By Sir Ronald Sanders (The writer is Antigua and Barbuda’s Ambassador to the United States and the Organization of American... more
Freedom of speech is our core value at Kaieteur News. If the letter/e-mail you sent was not published, and you believe that its contents were not libellous, let us know, please contact us by phone or email.