“Thank you Trinidad and Tobago for supporting my family during our difficult time” said a grateful Kristal Mohammed yesterday, as she thanks citizens for supporting the effort to fund the surgery that that given her infant child a chance at a normal life.
Five-year-old Haleema Mohammed suffered with Beta Thalassemia Major- a blood disorder. Her seven-year-old brother hero Haleem was her bone marrow donor. The family returned to their home at Mohess Road, Penal on Tuesday night after spending over three months at the Fortis Memorial Institute in Gurgaon, India where the surgery was performed.
Earlier this year, the Children's Life Fund, the body tasked with aiding sick children who require funding for surgeries, rejected the family's application for financial assistance, saying that Haleema's disorder was “not life threatening”. The family was left with no other choice but to source their own funds for the trip and surgery. After the issue was highlighted in the media, kind-hearted citizens generously donated money to the family for their cause. Mohammed told the Express: ““You feel helpless.
You don't know what to do. When doctors had the (surgical device) inserted she was in so much pain. She is my child and I felt like I was hurting too. It was really scary to see her like that. Then they had to do chemotherapy and her hair fell off. Her skin also got darker. She was really depressed about that because she liked having her hair. But now it is growing back,” she said. Mohammed said that even though the surgery was a success and that both her children were better, she worries about the future and her daughter's condition.
She said: “She will have to go to the haematologist in San Fernando to be monitored and tested. We have to keep the house clean and sanitised for her safety as the littlest thing can become a problem for her. We will continue to do our best and fight for her.
I think it is the job of parents to worry because I worry all the time about her and praying that nothing happens.” Kristal said that Haleema's condition requires her to be on a constant dose of medication to ensure that her body does not reject the transplant. Before leaving India, the family purchased a nine month supply for her. Kristal said that she was grateful to everyone for their support and prayers and thanked everyone.