Parents seek assistance to raise funds needed for surgery overseas
By Rehanna Ramsay
Under regular circumstances, 13 year- old Mikelle Brutus would have been attending school, making new friends and working towards achieving her goals. Like any regular teenager, she has hobbies; some of hers include singing, dancing and interacting with her peers. But Mikelle is no longer able to attend school or effectively participate in the activities which she loves due to a rare medical condition.
The condition is slowly taking away her mobility and if left untreated can result in death.
Since 2015, the teen has been suffering from a rare tumor which results in paralysis. Already, the illness has caused the muscle mass of her right leg to waste away and an inability to use her right hand.
The tumor has been affecting the Pons of the child’s brain, the area that is responsible for all sensory functions such as smell, taste, sight, touch and hearing.
The tumor is described in medical terms as being a brain stem glioma. The diagnosis was made after an MRI was performed and is described as being often very difficult to remove. Brain stem glioma is an aggressive and dangerous cancer, without treatment life expectancy is typically a few months from time of diagnosis.
Mikelle’s condition warrants urgent surgery and medical treatment overseas. But the cost of this treatment is US$172,000. In the estimate for the treatment is a clause which states that there may be extra charges for additional treatment which takes the required sum in the region of GYD$50M.
She should have been in the United States since November 2015 for treatment.
But her parents, Malicia and Michael Brutus, have not been able to garner the funds. Yet they have not given up.
The couple has been working feverishly to raise the sum.
Mr. Brutus says he has been trying every possible means to do so. The father, who has been an educator for a number of years, often takes time off from his work to go door- to -door beseeching members of the public as well as the business community for donations.
He has also written to a number of corporate entities asking for assistance.
The Brutus family was advised by Caribbean’s Chief Neurosurgeon, Dr. Ivor Crandon, during a visit to Guyana.
Dr. Crandon duly examined the child and diagnosed the tumor as inoperable.
In an interview with this newspaper, Mr. Brutus had explained that Dr. Crandon explicitly told him that under no circumstances should open head surgery be done on his daughter.
Brutus said that since the diagnosis was done he has been sending the medical documents and CT scans of his daughter to various medical institutes and professors around the Caribbean and they all shared the same opinion that open head surgery was not an option as it could have dire side effects on Mikelle.
When all seemed lost, a medical team visiting from the USA, based in Miami and Puerto Rico examined Mikelle and perused the medical findings of their Caribbean counterparts; they told Mr. Brutus that they could treat Mikelle by way of Radiology and Chemotherapy thus eliminating the need for the risky open head surgery. But the surgery is costly, amounting to GYD $50 Million.
He noted that in spite of his daughter‘s grim condition, she still manages to smile, especially when she meets a stranger. The lass is the eldest of five children. After a brief interaction with Mikelle, one would realize that she is just another soul that bears light to the world.
She is described by those closest to her as intelligent, outgoing, cheerful and talented. In fact, the young Brutus had competed in Mashramani Calypso competitions in 2013 and 2014, placing third in 2014.
In a touching statement to the Guyanese public Mikelle said “I’m asking for the opportunity to run, dance and sing again. I’d like the chance for a normal childhood and to be able to go to school again.”
As such, in his efforts to save the life of his precious daughter, Mr. Brutus continues to implore persons to give towards the worthy cause. In his request for financial support, the father has noted that their inability to raise adequate funds has resulted in a massive delay.
However, he said that the specialized team of doctors has been very patient and eagerly awaiting Mickelle‘s arrival to the United States for the treatment. The doctors have given the family a number of extensions for the commencement of treatment.
The Brutus family is therefore appealing to the people of Guyana for assistance. Anyone desirous of donating to Mikelle’s much needed surgery can contact the family on numbers 671-3298 or 694-6500. As Mr. Brutus plainly stated, time is of the essence because this treatment is urgently needed. For persons donating overseas transfers can be made to Republic Bank 38-40 Water Street Georgetown, Guyana Swift Code: RBGLGYGG Account number 265-347-5 or those donating locally can do so via Republic Bank Account Number 265-347-5.
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