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Rida Haidar consoles his sister-in-law Lismar Velaquez at the San Fernando General Hospital yesterday. Haidar’s son George needs cancer treatment.

Carisa Lee

When Rida Haidar left Venezuela and migrated to this country with his two sons, he planned on doing whatever he had to, to give them the best life possible, no matter the sacrifices.

“I work construction I never work construction in Venezuela, I kill chicken, I broomed the street,” Haidar said with tears in his eyes.

“You have to like run from there to come here, it’s not a choice, you can’t do anything there, it have no help no food,” Haidar’s sister Lismar Velasquez added.

It was a plan that was coming together as Haidar told Guardian Media his family was happily building a life here. But just as the dust settled for Haidar’s family, his 14-year-old son got ill.

“Geroge start to get sick two-three months now and he drink antibiotics and it doesn’t fix nothing,” Haidar said.

Geroge’s relatives took the teenager to the San Fernando General where he did a biopsy. The result showed that the teenager had Hodgkin lymphoma, a type of lymphoma in which cancer originates from specific white blood cells called lymphocytes.

Symptoms may include fever, night sweats, and weight loss.

Often there will be non-painful enlarged lymph nodes in the neck, under the arm, or in the groin.

“He’s real sad and doesn’t like to eat and he has fever all the time,” Velasquez said.

George’s relatives told Guardian Media that since his diagnosis the teen has not been the same. With tears in his eyes, the father described his teenage son as someone who is always happy.

“I tell him he’s sick, I never tell him he has cancer,” he said.

“Last week he listened and learned he has cancer he feel real sad and cried plenty,” he continued.

Doctors at the San Fernando General Hospital told his relatives that he needed at least six chemotherapy sessions. He was referred to the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex but when he got there, he was denied treatment because of his nationality.

“The normal rules we cannot register here…I showed her all the documents from San Fernando she said she cannot help and I understand that Trinidad have their law and we have to respect that,” Velasquez said.

When George’s family found out the price they realised that they could not afford it.

“I called some private medical institutions and the prices for one session is $60,000,” Velasquez said.

“I cry, I feel sad, you feel all your work all your life is nothing,” his father said.

After George was unable to be admitted at Mt Hope his relatives took him back to San Fernando General as the swelling and fever got worse. They said the staff at that hospital has been very kind to them.

They are hoping the Government can make an exception for George for him to get treated at Mt Hope or if that is not possible, they will try to raise funds to save his life.

“My biggest fear is for that cancer to just keep going and end his life and we can’t do anything about it,” Velasquez said

To assist Geroge you can call 297-0788 or 469-9829.

“At least we have to try to see if we could conquer this cancer,” Velasquez said.