Parents of baby flown to U.S. for cancer treatment worried about COVID-19

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By Isanella Patoir

Among those at high risk of contracting the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) are cancer patients.

Three-year-old Chayanne Parboo of St Monica in the Upper Pomeroon is currently undergoing chemotherapy at a prominent hospital in the United States. She was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia – a form of cancer in the blood cells in January this year.

She left for treatment with her parents in the US, fully funded by the Saving Hands Emergency Aid (SHEA) Charitable organisation.

With the US been one of the hardest-hit countries by COVID-19, her father Omesh Parboo in a telephone interview with the News Room said that he is fearful that she may contract the disease and as such, they are taking every necessary precaution. It’s now over three months since they left Guyana.

With no postponement for her treatment, Chayanne visits the hospital every week – sometimes two times per week – because of her unique condition. She has a very low platelet count and as such, she is required to test her platelets level before being treated with chemo.

“She has to go to the hospital every week for her chemo treatment, they do other tests on her cause she does have to get blood and platelets, sometimes she goes the day before the treatment to do her counts and the other day to do her chemo,” Mr Parboo told the News Room.

Chayanne Parboo

The father said for the sake of his only daughter, they are managing under complete lockdown in a self-contained room and only go out for Chayanne’s treatment.

Fortunately for Mr Parboo and his wife, Verney Charles, they are staying close to the hospital.

“She is at more risk, that’s why I don’t want to go outside; we just in here in the room,” the father said.

It was also scary for the family during the first couple of weeks when Chayanne was hospitalised after being administered with chemo. Now, she is responding well to the treatment and was also discharged from the hospital.

“The most difficult and rigorous part is like about eight months, her treatment is four eight weeks session and then a four-week session, she has another week to complete the first eight week,” Mr Parboo explained.

Her treatment is expected to last two and half years.

“For now she is looking like the persons she was before she got sick, healthy and playing and so on.

“It’s tough to just be in a room, its hard even for adults much less children and not going anywhere, it’s a choice and sacrifice that we have to make and Chayanne she is even more vulnerable, we got to try to keep her occupied and happy in this time, we gotta be strong for her,” Mr Parboo said.

However, his wife is waiting for the airports to reopen to return Guyana to their other two children and her job.

The family is also grateful to everyone who assisted in getting Chayanne to the US for treatment.

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