Girl, 5, needs financial aid to do brain surgery


Philana Harlequin was eight-months-old when her eyes started fluttering but when her mother, Atisha Knights took her to an eye specialist, they were told that the little girl will grow out of it.

But years later, young Philana’s condition only worsened. The five-year-old girl of No. 4 Village, West Coast Berbice was diagnosed with a rare brain tumor in February this year and now her mother is seeking the public’s assistance to offset the cost of surgery to be done overseas to remove the tumor.

At age 3, Philana’s eyes worsened and she started complaining of headaches that deteriorated over the past two years coupled with behavioural changes.

“So, I took her back to the eye specialist and they told me they can’t do anything about it.

“The headache is so severe, she cannot sleep she would just cry all the time, then her appetite cut,” Knights told the News Room on Tuesday.

The mother then took her to the Fort Wellington Hospital where the young girl was examined and transferred to the Mahaicony Hospital.

Atisha Knights and Philana

She was later referred to the Georgetown Public Hospital and after the hospital ran some tests, Philana was then sent to the St. Joseph Mercy Hospital for a CT scan to be conducted.

“When we did the CT scan the doctor said he saw something but he wasn’t sure it what it was and so we had to do an MRI scan,” Knights explained.

The young girl was then diagnosed with the brain tumor.

After the headaches continued, an emergency ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunt was done on March 4, 2022, at the Georgetown Public Hospital.

“Right now she is still crying for the headaches, her appetite is still not up to standard, she is losing her eyesight cause she is walking into things,” the mother related.

Philana is a pupil at the No. 5 Primary School but it has been difficult for her to attend.

“The doctor recommended that I don’t send her to school because the noise is too much for her.”

Guyana’s local neurosurgeon Dr Amarnauth Dukhi has recommended that surgery be done overseas to remove the tumor.

The News Room understands that the surgery is to be done in Colombia at a cost of US$49, 800.

Knights explained that the family has been selling BBQ tickets to raise funds while the Ministry of Health has pledged GY $1 million.

“I am asking the public if they could please help me to save my daughter’s life.”

Persons willing to assist little Philana can contact her mother on +592 626 4891.

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