ELLIOT, St Mary:
A worried and frustrated Navia Gibode is hoping to secure enough funds soon to have her seven-year-old daughter, Rickeisha Grant, whose physical state deteriorates daily, undergo medical intervention.
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Gibode, who recalls giving birth to a seemingly healthy child weighing approximately 10lb in 2014, is now concerned as her daughter battles a neuro-development disorder.
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Speaking with The Gleaner at their home in Elliot, St Mary, on Monday, Gibode said that Rickeisha will first need to have blood tests costing US$1,000 done overseas to confirm the diagnosis as her daughter is still unable to walk or even hold anything in her hands.
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“She was born a normal baby. She was like born 10lb, no sign of sickness nor anything,” Gibode said, saying that alarm bells first went off when Rickeisha reached seven months old.
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“She wasn’t creeping, she wasn’t holding on or anything. When I go to the clinic, they said that some babies take a [longer] time to walk and so on. So when it get serious now, I say to them, ‘Can you give me a referral to [Bustamante] Children’s Hospital’?” Gibode recalled
She said she was then referred to a neurologist, who said Rickeisha was displaying signs of Rett syndrome – a genetic neurological disorder that occurs almost exclusively in girls and leads to severe impairment, affecting nearly every aspect of the child’s life: their ability to speak, walk, eat, and even breathe easily. The hallmark of Rett syndrome is near-constant repetitive hand movements and is characterised by a small head
When Gibode said she could not afford the US$1,000 test to confirm the diagnosis, the worried mother was then sent to an ophthalmologist as doctors said she was not seeing well
After Rickeisha reached age two, her mom’s concern was heightened as she was still not walking and her condition seemed to be worsening
She told The Gleaner that doctors said that the condition cannot be cured but can only be treated
When she noticed that Rickeisha’s back was curving, she begged for an X-ray to be done. Although it was not carried out, doctors said the child was developing scoliosis, affecting her spine and kidneys
As Rickeisha loses weight and her condition continues to deteriorate, Gibode is worried that she might not be able to do the much-needed blood test, which would confirm whether she has Rett syndrome
The mother of three, including a four-month-old baby, is now appealing for help to cover the cost of the tests, plus airfare to travel to the United States
Anyone wishing to assist Rickeisha can contact her mother, Navia Gibode, at 876-394-1503