Robinson thanks community for surgery help
Former cricketer Tucoma Robinson, whose kidneys were destroyed by a chronic medical condition, has extended thanks to the community for the assistance given to him in obtaining life-changing surgery.
Now on the road to recovery, Mr Robinson may even be able to return to the game once his kidney transplant, due any day now, comes through.
Support has come from across the community since he went public with his financial difficulties, facing high medical bills. Mr Robinson's registered his cause as charity number T003 over the summer. While an initial round of donations covered him for accommodation while he had his first round of surgery in July, he was still out of pocket to cover his plane tickets when an anonymous donor came to the rescue. “I opened the envelope and there was a cheque for $2,000,” he recalled. “I flipped my lid, because I really needed it.”
A gospel concert at the Southampton Seventh-day Adventist Church raised around $5,000, while a bake sale organised by Margaret O'Brien covered the hotel Brigham and Women's Faulkner Hospital for parathyroid surgery. A friend, Nathaniel Turner, donated $10,000.
He said that help also came from Place's Gombeys.
“That's my family — I have been one of their drummers. They donated $1,100, which I really appreciated.”
Although he estimates he will have to raise a further $100,000, Mr Robinson has been given the green light for his transplant by Anil Chandraker, the Brigham and Women's director of transplant nephrology.
“They've told me to come up and get the transplant — we'll worry about the money later,” he said. “They told me to be ready, have my bag packed and be prepared to get on a flight at any given moment. I am on the top of the list — I should definitely have it before Christmas.”
With a new kidney, Mr Robinson will be off dialysis and might even return to cricketing.
“The last team I played for was Somerset Bridge. If I can, I might go back to playing for those guys. I'm one of those players that don't like to go to a team that's already established.
“I'd like to join a team that's from down and help bring it up. My son is 10, going on 11, and playing a little bit of cricket for his school. He's done extremely well and I just want him to be able to see me play one more season.”
In the meantime his message to others is: get tested. “Dr Chandraker has asked me to join the team that talks about these diseases here in Bermuda,” Mr Robinson said.
“The issue is not just high blood pressure but diabetes as well. We need to watch our diets and get exercise. Alcohol abuse and substance abuse — you can lose your kidneys like that, too.”
Speaking to The Royal Gazette while getting his dialysis treatment, Mr Robinson said there were now 187 patients on dialysis and perhaps as many as 20 on the waiting list.
“There's not a lot of room for more people,” he said. “It's imperative that Bermudians go and get screened for high blood pressure and diabetes. I can't stress that enough because it doesn't have to happen.”
• Donations to Mr Robinson's charity can be sent directly to the Butterfield account in his name, account number 060-156-923-0014.