Boy's Promising Future Cut Short by Paralysing illness
...in need of treatment abroad
THE family of Naparima College pupil Sachin Kalpee, who became paralysed from the neck down after a fall at school, is trying to raise funds to pay for his medical treatment abroad.
Kalpee, 15, has been hospital for the past three months.
The boy has been diagnosed with transverse myelitis (TM), a rare inflammatory disease causing injury to the spinal cord. There is no known cure for the ailment.
The cost of treatment abroad is approximately US $90,000 a month,
said his mother Patricia Kalpee. She said her son, a third form pupil, fell while playing football at school during a lunch break last November 26, injuring his head and back.
She said within two hours "his entire body shut down."
Sachin, 15 spent two months in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) before being transferred to the surgical ward.
He now relies on oxygen to help him breathe, and has problems speaking.
Acting Vice Principal of Naparima College Dev Gosine said the school has donated thousands to the Kalpee family for treatment.
The money was raised through donations and fundraisers at school.
He said the school will continue to raise funds for Kalpee and another pupil in need of finance for medical purposes.
Gosine reminded parents that they had the option of insuring their children upon registration at the school.
Patricia Kalpee said the school did indeed donate at least $16,000 to help her child. A local neurosurgeon said treatment was available locally, but it was not the best.
"Once a diagnosis is made, the treatment is usually conservative and
rehabilitative in nature. There are no drugs that you give for it. Treatment is available all over the world. There will be better rehabilitative facilities abroad than we have in Trinidad and Tobago. The current state of our rehabilitative treatment is not as advanced as you would get in the first world countries" the medical source said.
The teenager cannot access the State's Children Life Fund because treatment is available locally.
Kalpee said she has been in contact with John Hopkins Hospital in Maryland, and the hospital has agreed to accept Sachin for treatment.
Kalpee said she was not sure how long he may have to stay there, but it should be at least one year. Sachin will have to be taken by air ambulance which would be an additional $US41,000 one way.
She said, "Right now he is using oxygen to breathe. I want him to be able to breathe on his own before we travel because I don't know what could happen when he is up in the air."
On April 20th, the family will be having a fund raising dinner .
Kalpee said she will also be requesting financial assistance from the government. An account will be set up soon for public donation.
The Express visited Kalpee at hospital earlier this week. He was aware of what is happening around him. He could barely move his right arm and spoke barely above a whisper. But he was smiling. Kalpee said he spent his days watching movies from a portable DVD player and playing video games. He cannot read because he does not have the strength to hold books. His mother reads the Bible to him every day. Kalpee said he was getting better and all he wanted was to be well again.
“ I just want to thank everyone for praying for me,” he said.
Anyone willing to assist can contact Kalpee at 386-7836.