A plea for help has been sent to the community by Midrand resident Phillecia Naicker who needs to raise R400 000 before June this year to enable her to take her 17- months-old son to America for treatment which may grant him a chance at a normal life.
Joshua Naicker is the first born and only child of Philleciaand Bradley Naicker after more than five years of marriage. Joshua has been diagnosed with hydrocephalus – a condition in which there is an accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) within the brain.
Naicker broke down and cried as she recalled the moments and emotions she felt when she found out about the condition of her son while she was five months pregnant.
“My husband and I were excited to visit the doctor at five months because we were expecting to hear about the gender of the baby but instead we were told that our child has a head that is bigger than normal.
“We had a video camera to capture the moment of joy, which turned into one of the lowest days in my life, my heart sank as I cried. I didn’t want to hear about the illness, I put all my trust in God and prayed for a miracle regardless of what the doctors were telling me.
“Both me and my husband work full-time jobs but when we get home we try and spend as much time as possible with our son because we see his fight for life every day and we are hopeful that the treatment that needs to be done at the Duke University will ensure a better future for him.”
Joshua was 43cm long at birth with a head circumference of 45cm. He was put on oxygen and was only 10 days old when he had his first brain surgery during which surgeons inserted a shunt [an alternative path for the passage of the blood or other body fluid].
“After this operation, we experienced several setbacks, he was immediately put on a ventilator, he started having seizures, his brain was haemorrhaging and he was given several pints of blood and plasma, “said Phillecia.
Joshua was also diagnosed with Chiari malformation [mild herniation], missing septum pellucidum [partition between brain hemispheres] with possible agenesis [incomplete development] of the corpus callosum [broad band of fibres between brain hemispheres], cerebral visual impairment, hemiplegia [cerebral palsy], global developmental delay [delayed milestones], scoliosis [abnormal lateral curvature of the spine] and brachycephaly [having a relatively broad, short skull].
The breakdown of the R400 000 cost is as follows:
- The estimated total cost of the first stem cell treatment will be around R344 700 allowing for exchange rate fluctuations or an approximate 10 per cent increase
- Banking and processing the stem cells for infusion: R20 460
- HLA-typing of both siblings to confirm a match: R6 507
- Transporting the stem cells to America: R26 300
- Infusion of stem cells: R216 100
- Transportation and accommodation in America: R44 000
Joshua has been in occupational therapy since he was five months old. He has a physiotherapist, speech therapist, and will soon start vision therapy because he is currently blind due to the illnesses.
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