Although the contributors, including the Love for All Foundation, Pizza Boys, various mosques, close friends and family, did not want to disclose the amount they individually gave, Haleema can now leave the country to seek her much needed procedure scheduled for September 4.
Haleema was diagnosed with Beta Thalassemia Major, a blood disorder, and was denied funding by the Children’s Life Fund Authority (CLFA) on the grounds that her application “contains little evidence of a definitive diagnosis of Beta Thalassemia Major...and furthermore it appears that the requisite testing for the donor has not been carried out, both of which may be required before the course of treatment can be appropriately selected.” The CLFA also said, “Thalassemia is not considered to be a life-threatening illness as required by Section 19 (e) of the Act.” The board said its clinical assessments were based on other patients “with the same medical condition as further confirmed by the clinical meeting with consultant paediatricians and a haematologist on April 28 where it was agreed that Thalassemia is not a life-threatening illness and, with proper management, life expectancy extends well into adulthood.” Fighting to hold back tears, Haleema’s mother Kristal told Newsday, “I will like to thank the corporate sector which has rallied around Haleema. I will like to thank each and everyone who has contributed to my daughter in getting the money for her surgery. I feel so happy and I thank everyone for their support and prayers.” Kristal was speaking moments after the family was yesterday presented with a cheque from businessman Stefan Chin, son of MovieTowne owner Derek Chin, in the sum of $20,000.
“Today was the happiest day of my life after a few days of ups and downs. Today I was lifted up with so much that I know for sure now she will get the surgery. I have been praying for this.” Kristal said they are leaving on August 31 to reach India on September 4 and would be there for three months.
“The first month, doctors will do the treatment and surgery and they will take the two months to monitor her after the surgery.” Haleema lives at Mohess Road, Penal with her mother and father Hamil Mohammed and two siblings.
Chin called on corporate citizens to help those in need. The cheque presentation took place at MovieTowne, Invaders Bay, Port of Spain. Chin said after learning about the family’s plight, he saw it fitting to get on board to help.
“When I saw this on the television I took an interest in it because I realised it was somebody in need, and if you have the ability to help why not help? I think it is a responsibility of corporate citizens to help and once corporate citizens could help they should. It will help the country all around.” Meanwhile, attorney Gerald Ramdeen said it has been a very long and hard journey for the family. Last Tuesday he petitioned the High Court in San Fernando to compel the CLFA to respond to Haleema’s application. On Wednesday the CLFA announced its decision to deny the funding.
Ramdeen said the family sees no use in appealing the matter since they have managed to raise the money.
“I don’t think they want to go through the emotional trauma of going to court,” Ramdeen said.
“They had done very well, as much as $300,000, and by yesterday afternoon they were about $100,000 short. Between yesterday (Thursday) and this morning (Friday) they have been able to raise the $100,000.” He said with all the bad news every day, there were still very good people who look out for those in need.
“That goes to show, this is a family who did all they can to save the life of their daughter and I am very pleased today to say that Trinidad and Tobago has contributed to be able to save Haleema’s life.”