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BY DONNA HUSSEY-WHYTE Sunday Observer staff reporter [email protected]
SINCE last Sunday when 14-year-old Leslie-Ann Goulbourne’s condition was highlighted in the Sunday Observer, her mother and her doctor have reported that the child is getting worse as the days go by.
Since last June, Leslie-Ann has been diagnosed with germinoma, a non-malignant tumour that affects the brain and the spine. She has undergone four brain surgeries, six weeks of radiotherapy, weekly visits to the hospital and numerous tests and scans. But the tumour has now spread to the teen’s spine, crippling one of her arms and partially blinding the other eye.
Germinoma is a germ cell tumour that forms in the pineal gland area of the brain. Pineal tumour patients typically experience a build-up of fluid within the brain, causing headaches, nausea and impaired vision.
“What I realised yesterday (Thursday) is that her neck is not moving. The neck is now stiff and in a
straight position,”
Andrea Williams, the child’s mother, said on Friday. “The left hand is
not moving and the right one, which had little life in it is dead now. The pain is going further down in the spine. She used to feel it up to the neck, but it’s going down in the back now. She is telling me to rub her spine downwards, so it is getting worse. The fact that her neck is not moving and she can’t turn her neck at all, shows that it is getting much worse.”
Along with that, the child is now suffering from shortness of breath, and, as explained by her neurosurgeon Dr Peter Charles last week, this is as a result of the tumour compressing against the spine, getting larger and squeezing tighter. The part being compressed, he explained, controls breathing and movement of the hands and legs. He noted then that this could result in the child becoming paralysed from the neck down and she could even stop breathing.
Dr Charles last week said that the child has indeed got worse over the past week and if she does not receive treatment in the next week, or two she could die. He too said she has lost the use of her other arm and her breathing is weak.
Williams said that she was asked to take the child in for a radiation assessment last Tuesday at the centre and was told that the Ministry of Health had cleared the outstanding balance of $400,000 for the first radiation of the brain tumour done. That bill had amounted to almost $2 million, with Williams paying a half, the CHASE Fund $500,000 and the ministry clearing up the balance.
Dr Andrei Cooke, Chairman of the South East Regional Health Authority (SEHRA) said that while he was unable to state the exact amount that will be paid towards the child’s upcoming radiation treatment, the ministry is trying to see how much of the $1.6 million allotted to radiation through the compassionate fund it will be able to pay.
“I don’t know exactly how much the ministry will be putting up,” Dr Cooke told the Sunday Observer yesterday. “But the average cost of radiotherapy is $1.6 million, and what we are trying to see is how much we can remove in terms of bringing the cost to as close to zero as possible. I don’t know what her particular case is and as such I wouldn’t be able to say exactly what the amount is. But the ministry is working on a plan to help almost all of the persons who apply for the compassionate fund, and so she should get a level of help.”
The child’s mother said that funding is also expected to come from a Fish Fry being planned by her co-worker for February 27, while an auto parts dealer in Port Morant, St Thomas, staged a car wash yesterday towards the child’s bills. She also received US$960.07 from a go-fund account set up by a family member, while individuals have also been showing interest in assisting her.
“I still have the hospital bills that I have not touched as yet,” the desperate mother said. “Each time I have a payment plan to start paying what I owe, she gets readmitted. One bill is for $882,339.29, and another one is $52,200. I had
made payment plan arrangements, so my payment should start the end of this month.”
Williams said that she is expecting a call from the radiation centre by Tuesday of this week with news as to when her daughter can go in to be treated, something she is anxiously looking forward to.
She expressed her heartfelt gratitude to the Jamaica Observer, persons both locally and internationally who have assisted and are assisting, and to the child’s doctor for going the extra mile for her.
“Thank you so much for all of the support that I have been receiving, and without this going public I don’t know where we would stand in terms of financial gains to help my daughter. So I am very grateful,” she said. “I thank God that Dr Charles is her surgeon, because that gentleman puts out so much effort for Leslie-Ann. I can call him any hour of the night, anytime, any amount of times and he does not hesitate to answer. If something is happening to her that is abnormal he will say take her in right now, don’t stop, just take her to me. I am grateful for that gentleman; he is a blessing to her,” Williams said.
For persons wishing to make a contribution towards Leslie-Ann’s radiation and outstanding hospital bills, you can do so in account number 644 269 299 at the National Commercial Bank, in the name of Andrea Williams.


  1. Met, is there anyway to find out the go fund info, I enquirer last week about contact info…but it is much easier and more likely to happen if I can contribute that way.

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