Kelsey Cabralis dreams of one day becoming a doctor.
It’s not surprising, as she’s spent most of her childhood around them since being diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia at the age of just two.
But now, battling the disease for the third time, she spent her 12th birthday last month at hospital receiving treatment.
For her life-long dream of becoming an oncologist to come true, she first needs to survive. However, that fate is out of her family’s hands as the required treatment isn’t available in the Caribbean and her parents can’t afford the steep bill of having it done elsewhere.
“(It’s) very, very stressful. Sometimes we have sleepless nights,” her mother Candice Moraldo told Guardian Media.
Her great aunt, Irma Sookoo, assists with taking care of Kelsey while her parents are at work. For her, witnessing Kelsey’s third fight is “overwhelming.”
According to her medical summary from the Eric William’s Medical Sciences Complex (EWMSC), Kelsey needs a bone marrow transplant along with other procedures to put this disease behind her.
“Kelsey will need either bone marrow transplant (HSCT) with total body irradiation and cranial boost, or immunotherapy (CAR-T therapy or CAR-T followed by HSCT) for any chance of long-term cure,” it said.
Moraldo said they’ve reached out to hospitals in countries such as Canada, Cuba and India for the treatment. Already, they’ve received one quotation for TT$1.2 million. She noted that this does not include other associated costs.
Her sister, Kiana, is a 99.5 per cent match for the transplant.
Moraldo said they recently applied to the Children’s Life Fund for assistance and are awaiting further word. To date, they’ve only been able to raise some TT$25,000.
To help raise funds, they started a GoFundMe account at https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-for-kelsey-for-a-bone-marrow-transplant created by Winston Alleyne. There’s also a bank account #110000004575259, at Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) in the name of Candice Moraldo/Irma Sookoo for TT-dollar donations.
On March 19, there will also be a sweet box sale with drop-off points in Arouca, Trincity, Tunapuna, San Juan and Port-of-Spain. Orders can be placed by calling 493-2663 or 354-6401.