Family appeal for help for Kandice
A 14-year-old girl who has suffered from a life-threatening heart problem since birth has to return to the United States for urgent tests, her mother said yesterday.
Now the family have launched an appeal for public help to raise $10,000 to help single mother Derika Young and daughter Kandice to travel to the Children’s Hospital in Boston for the tests, which must be carried out by January.
The bad news came after Kandice, who has only one working lung, which affects the amount of oxygen that gets to her heart, suffered complications about two weeks ago.
Fluid around her liver has put pressure on her already damaged heart. Ms Young said Kandice may have to undergo major surgery to save her life.
She added: “It’s hard knowing your child has no quality of life and can lose that life on the operating table.”
Ms Young said: “It’s a hard decision to make on my own. We’re just trying to do whatever is in Kandice’s best interests.”
Ms Young, from Middletown, Pembroke, added Kandice was also born without a spleen, which meant she “gets sick in the blink of an eye”.
The youngster has been away from TN Tatem Middle School in Warwick since March because of her illness.
Kandice said yesterday was “a good day, I feel fine” but she admitted she felt “weak and tired” on Sunday.
Ms Young said bad days sapped Kandice’s energy and left her short of breath and with chest pains.
But she added the little girl was “a fighter” and was keen to get back to school.
Ms Young said just before her daughter’s condition took a turn for the worse she got to visit Horseshoe Bay for the first time.
She added: “She doesn’t get to go places much. She needs transportation and gets tired fast. Sometimes I carry her on my back or lift her up stairs.”
She said walking from the family home in Middletown can take hours.
But Ms Young said: “She is a different and a wonderful child. I just try to let her live as normal a life as possible.
“Sometimes I think she doesn’t understand — she just knows ‘I have a heart problem and I’m sick’.”
Ms Young, who worked part-time as a house cleaner, said she had to give up her job to care for Kandice. She explained: “It was either my job or my daughter and right now her health is more important.
“With the public’s assistance, I just hope we can pull it off, whatever is offered to her in Boston.”
She added: “I don’t know what sleep is — I keep one eye open and one closed to watch her constantly.
“If I get an hour, that’s the most I get.”
Ms Young said she sold baked goods to help raise cash, while Kandice made her own loom band jewellery to raise funds for her trip to Boston.
Ms Young added her late grandmother, Iris Young, and her mother, Paulette Anglin, had been a major source of support to the family.
Glenn Tucker, a professional photographer and Kandice’s godfather, also thanked Yvonne Bean, who set up a GoFundMe online page in Kandice’s name to help raise funds for the trip to Boston.
Ms Young said the family was still paying off a debt to the Lady Cubitt Compassionate Association for its help with earlier medical costs.
She added: “I want to thank everybody that’s helped in the past. All her godparents are loving supporters — she is not in this alone.”