Dionne Lewis and her son Gordon Lee Chin

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A Chaguanas mother has quit her teaching job as she desperately tries to raise the US$600,000 needed for medical treatment abroad for her gravely ill son.

Dionne Lewis has been keeping up an almost round-the-clock vigil at her son’s hospital bedside at the paediatric ward of the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex. Gordon Lee Chin, 9, has been a patient there for the past seven weeks battling Aplastic anaemia, a rare blood disease.

“When I heard the diagnosis I was horrified. I didn’t know what to think. It was the first time I heard about Aplastic anaemia. Some of the things I read really made me horrified,” Lewis said

The disease develops when the bone marrow fails to produce enough blood cells because the normal blood-forming cells (stem cells) are replaced by abnormal fat cells.

Although aplastic anaemia is not a malignant disease, it can be very serious, especially if the bone marrow is severely affected and there are very few blood cells left in circulation.

Without adequate numbers of blood cells people with the disease can become anaemic and more susceptible to infections, and to bleeding and bruising more easily.

The rare condition meant only one thing for the mother—time is of the essence.

“His platelets are low, his blood count is low, he had a few blood transfusions, a few platelet transfusions. He’s a bit weak, dizzy at most times.”

Determined to not let her son suffer, Lewis has quit her job as a secondary school teacher to spend more time at her son’s side.

Describing him as “the love of my life,” Lewis admitted: “I cannot leave him, it has been several weeks and I need to be here. He needs bedside assistance and I cannot leave him alone.”

She said what pains her the most is seeing Gordon in pain.

“When I see him lying on a bed, mostly every night I cry, every single night. He asks me questions that I can’t even answer, but by the grace of God I know he’ll be okay,” she said.

Lewis and her husband are trying to raise the money needed for their son to undergo an emergency bone marrow transplant and other surgeries that are only available abroad.

The worried mother, who has bonded with parents of other young patients on the ward, said: “Children get sick and they need love and support. To every parent, my heart goes out to them and we support one another.”

Anyone wishing to assist Gordon Lee Chin can make contributions at FCB account number 2524034 or visit the family’s go fund me page on fundmetnt.com.