Highlights — 30 September 2014 — by Kareem Clarke
Mother of leukemia patient seeking assistance

BELIZE CITY–The mother of an ailing leukemia patient is making a desperate plea for the public’s assistance in order to be able to provide medical treatment for him, and hopefully, give him a better chance of survival.

In April of this year, just before school re-opened after the Easter holidays, Clovis Matura got the shocking news that her son, Cleyon Marage, Jr., 10, was gravely ill after she noticed a swollen lymph node on his neck, which was followed by diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, and weakness.

When they took him to the hospital, he was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia, also known as AML, which is a relatively rare type of cancer that affects mostly adults, in which there is rapid growth of abnormal white blood cells in the bone marrow that end up interfering with the production of normal blood cells.

His mother told Amandala today that their lives have changed considerably since Cleyon’s diagnosis.

She said, “Since we find out he is sick, our whole life changed because he doesn’t sleep at night, and sometimes he has fever up to 102 degrees, mostly in the night. During the day, he does not want to eat or play because he is tired, so he just wants to sleep.”

After his diagnosis in Belize, his family sought treatment in Chetumal, where his mother said she was being “turned around,” presumably due to lack of financial resources; she thus ended up back at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital in August when Cleyon started having all the other symptoms, coupled with shortness of breath.

When he was admitted, it was discovered that he had 290,000 white blood cells, which is way above what is considered normal, in addition to a swollen liver and spleen, so on the very next day, he was ordered to seek treatment – this time in Merida, Mexico.

In terms of his chances of survival, Matura said, “Doctors say he has a 40% chance of beating it. His chances will be higher if he gets the treatment in America. He needs a bone marrow transplant to improve his chances, and the chemotherapy is for 18 months.”

Cleyon’s first treatment was done in August, and he requires a chemotherapy session every month. The next treatment is coming up in four days, and his family does not have the money to make the trip or pay for the treatment, which costs $4,000 per session.

They were scheduled to leave on Sunday, September 28, and the distressed mother explained that if he does not get the treatment, then the whole chemotherapy process will reverse itself.

Before he was afflicted by the illness, Cleyon used to attend St. John Vianney Primary School in Belize City, where, we understand, he was always happy, playful, mannerly, ambitious, likeable, and very smart in school.

If you wish to assist the family, you can call Clovis Matura at 665-0190. Her Holy Redeemer account number is 52770.

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