A Point Fortin mother of three is walking around with what she describes as “a ticking time bomb” in her head and she is asking for the public’s help to save her life.
Diagnosed with a brain aneurysm, Penni Beckles-George needs to raise $200,000 for urgent life-saving surgery.
“It’s a fearful thing because I have three children so I don’t know when it could burst, it feels scary. It’s very scary to know that you have a bomb in your head and you not sure when it is going to explode,” sobbed Beckles-George during an interview at her Coconut Trace, Fanny Village, Point Fortin home.
She also has a brain tumour but at this stage, it is not life-threatening. Beckles-George, 35, recalled that in September 2019 she was in the hospital for another condition when she suddenly could not move her right foot or hand. After the MRI results, she received the terrifying news.
But, she had to do a cerebral angiogram to find the location of the aneurysm. Since that test was not available through the public health system, she applied for funding through the Ministry of Health and last December her application was finally approved and the test was done.
“I have to do two brain surgery but one of them is urgent. An aneurysm is something that can burst at any time so I have to get the surgery done. However, the location of the aneurysm is not in a common place, therefore, I really have to get it done through coiling embolisation and that is costing a lot of money. If it burst, chances are I may not live. If I do live I may have a disability so I may not be able to do certain things or talk again and things like that.”
She said Mt Hope Hospital has the facility but not the equipment to do the surgery while the San Fernando General Hospital does not have the facility.
Beckles-George said her condition is having a significant impact on her family and their quality of life.
“I have three children ages nine, six and three-years-old. So I am not able to take care of them the way I am supposed to. They have online classes and because it is my brain I can’t focus properly so they can’t finish their work as they should. I can’t play with them as I would like to. They like me to play with them and sometimes I just can’t, I have to lie down. Sometimes I feel dizzy. Every day I get headaches and I get pain on my right foot.”
Beckles-George resigned as a pre-school teacher when her eldest child began experiencing severe seizures. She and her husband Daniel George started a decor business but because of her illness and COVID-19, their business took a nosedive.
Pleading for a chance to live
She and her husband are asking for any assistance possible so she can live to spend more time with her children.
But Daniel, who lost his job at Trinmar as a casual labourer when Petrotrin closed its doors, said he felt uncomfortable asking for money because he usually provides for his family, but they need help.
“I understand that in this time there are a lot of people who don’t have an income and cannot afford to give, those who can we are just humbly requesting that you give some support and probably it may not be us directly or somebody else might be in a position to help you when you are in need.”
George said the Movement for Social Justice arranged for them to meet with a local team of Cuban doctors but there were no public health facilities for them to perform the surgery. He believes that if the borders were open his wife would have been able to do the surgery in Cuba, possibly free of charge. He has since written to Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh asking if they could fast-track and approve their application for financial assistance through the ministry since his wife’s surgery is scheduled for March 22 at the Caribbean Heart Care facility in St Clair.
George has since approached several corporate bodies for assistance and sent letters to the Point Fortin Mayor and Member of Parliament.
He has also set up GoFundMe and FundMeT&T accounts, but so far they have only raised $1,500.
Beckles-George believes that it is only through the grace of God that she has survived for so long.
“Please, anybody that can help me, anyone no matter how much amount, anyone, if you can help me to save my life so that I could be able to take care of my family, my children.”
Anyone willing to assist can deposit funds to FCB account 2415961. The couple can also be contacted at 309-1767.