Fundraising appeal to help former top athlete
A former top youth athlete has launched a fundraising appeal for a kidney transplant that could save her life.
Daliesha Dill, who once represented Bermuda overseas as a 100 metres runner, is now barely able to walk as a result of kidney failure and is hooked up to a dialysis machine for ten hours a day.
With her condition quickly deteriorating, her best chance of survival is a live kidney transplant which will cost in the region of $300,000.
Ms Dill, 33, has launched a GoFundMe page to help pay for past and ongoing medical expenses including the potentially life-saving transplant. The goal is to raise $100,000 towards the costs.
The community has rallied around Ms Dill raising $44,000 in the first 72 hours of the page’s launch while Bermuda’s biggest sporting star Nahki Wells has tweeted a message of support urging people to donate to her cause.
Ms Dill told The Royal Gazette: “To receive all this support means everything to me. It definitely makes me want to keep going and keep pushing forward. It is shocking as well, I didn’t realise so many people would be so kind, loving and supportive.
“I know of Nahki Wells but I don’t I know him personally. I can’t explain the feeling, I am very grateful.”
At the age of 26, Ms Dill had systemic lupus erythematosus diagnosed. Lupus is a disease that occurs when the body’s immune system attacks its own tissues and organs and in 2019 it led her kidney to fail.
Her condition has worsened over the years and she has since made three trips to Boston for treatment. The most recent trip was on April 3 after she woke up in excruciating pain and unable to walk.
She is in Brigham and Women’s Hospital where doctors are attempting to get her condition under control in preparation for a kidney transplant. There are four live donors, friends and family members of Ms Dill, who must be tested to see if they are a match.
Ms Dill said: “I woke up and couldn’t walk, I had to be in a wheelchair. I went to King Edward VII Memorial Hospital and they couldn’t figure out what was wrong.
“They sent me to a specialist in Boston and they are still trying to figure it out. It was very painful I couldn’t stand or move my legs properly. They have gotten some pointers but are still trying to figure it out and are in the process of setting up a kidney transplant. That is the most important thing as my lupus is under control now.
“I definitely feel down and feel like my life has been taken away from me. I was a track athlete when I was young from about 13 to 15 – I was quite successful and didn’t lose any races.
“Then I represented Bermuda in the US East Coast Invitational. I loved being around a track team and loved to see the talent I hadn’t been exposed to before.
"I came first place in the trials and sixth in the finals against about 42 competitors.
“This transplant will change my life it will mean a lot to me. I have always wanted to help other people and would love to be an English teacher. It would be fulfilling to me instead of just living a sick life.”
Ms Dill has been unable to work since her kidney failed and only has basic HIP coverage. This covers only a portion of major medical procedures. The Lady Cubitt Compassionate Association is acting as a guarantor for the bills. She is also looking to try to receive some coverage under her mother’s insurance plan which remains an uncertainly and could take up to six months to finalise.
Dawn Furbert, Ms Dill’s mother, said that the outpouring of love and support from the community has been “overwhelming”.
Ms Furbert said: “It is about more than the money – it shows how Bermudians are so supportive, they have sent so much love and support.
“Now it feels like I’m not in it alone as there are a lot of people rooting for her and supporting us.
“I am not one to ask for help and Daliesha is a private person – she didn’t want to put herself out there. The fundraising page includes pictures of her before and after she got sick which show how she has been transformed so it wasn’t easy for her but it is needed. She has had such a positive response and so many words of encouragement, it is awesome and very touching.
“I think it is a testament of who she is – she friendly, is well loved and popular.”
Anyone wishing to donate to Ms Dill’s cause can do so via the GoFundMe page here.
Donations can also be made to the Lady Cubitt Compassionate Society – donors must reference Daliesha Dill’s name if they wish funds to go directly to her cause.
The family’s temporary fundraising licence number is T2110.
• Donations can be made to http://gofund.me/d83bec04 or L.C.C.A HSBC Account # 010-287209-002 patient name: Daliesha Dill