By KHRISNA VIRGIL
Tribune Staff Reporter
SINCE last November, five-year-old Zion Knowles has needed 16 different types of medication at a cost of $4,679.75 each month to prevent a leukaemia relapse.
As doctors in Miami, Florida – where Zion is currently receiving treatment – have ordered she continue to take the medication for at least another year, her father Jason Knowles expects the family will need around $60,000 to ensure she gets all the drugs she needs.
Coupled with an outstanding $300,000 for other health care bills that occurred over the past two years, Mr Knowles appealed to both corporate and private entities for donations that will assist his family financially.
On June 26, 2012, Zion was diagnosed with leukaemia, a cancer of blood cells that can lead to other infections.
“The response to our plea for financial assistance here at home has been slow,” Mr Knowles said.
“Every time she goes in for a visit, that is another bill as well so we are trying to manage those. But through different fundraisers, we have managed as best we can. Ironically from the state of Florida through certain foundations, including the Jessica June Children’s Cancer Foundation and Florida KidCare, we have gotten assistance but we have exhausted all of those now.
“My primary concern is covering the cost of medication. So even if we were just to get assistance with that, which is roughly $60,000 per year, we would be appreciative.”
While the medication continues to help Zion fight the cancer, Mr Knowles said his daughter has suffered some unfortunate side effects, including a condition called ascites. Ascites is the build-up of fluid in the space between the lining of the abdomen and abdominal organs. It has prevented Zion from eating solid foods for almost three weeks. She receives food through a feeding tube.
“They had to drain it and stop her from eating anything by mouth. That has been for the past almost three weeks and she has another two weeks to go now. That tends to dampen her spirits, but having family and friends around helps out a lot.”
The family is currently planning a fun run/walk and a steak-out later this year to raise money for medical costs.
A T-shirt drive is currently underway and persons interested in making purchases can send emails to firstname.lastname@example.org or make inquires on Facebook at: facebook.com/HopeForZionKnowles.
Donations can be made at www.fundrazr.com/campaigns/ciMqd or at the Zion Medical Fund account at CIBC FirstCaribbean.