Patrick Williams and his family are hopeful that the recent passing of reggae legend, Frankie Paul, will raise much needed awareness to the struggle of kidney disease in Jamaica. Paul died on May 18th at the age of 52 of kidney failure.
Williams, just 21-years old, suffers with End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD). Both of his kidneys have failed, and in order to stay alive, the young graduate of Steer Town Academy will need twice weekly hemodialysis, and eventually a kidney transplant.
Severe swelling in his legs in 2012 were the first signs of a problem. At that time he was diagnosed with Nephrotic syndrome, which was managed with medications and dietary restrictions. Sadly, in March of this year his condition worsened. Subsequent testing proved that his kidneys had failed.
“I meet a lot of people in my profession, but it is rare one leaves such an impression on me,” said Nicky Patricia Johnson, a nurse in Ocho Rios, who met Patrick 5 years ago. “He is a wonderful young man, respectful, humble and responsible. I knew I had to step up and advocate on his behalf because if he does not get the appropriate treatment he will die a slow and painful death.”
It is Johnson who has led the efforts to help support Patrick’s treatment. Despite the fact that healthcare in government facilities is free, those clinics are under resourced, leaving Patrick no other choice but to seek treatment via a private clinic, which costs $88,000 per month.
“Renal disease is quite common in Jamaica, and our dialysis clinics are extremely overcrowded with extremely long waiting lists,” said Johnson. “Dozens of people have died while waiting for access to dialysis.”
Patrick is currently receiving treatment by Dr. Professor Barton at the Bellamour Medical Limited Dialysis Centre in Ocho Rios.
“Without a transplant, Patrick will not be able to enjoy the life he so much deserves,” said Johnson. “We are workin on some fundraising events, but we are also hopeful that the public can rally around him and help by making some much needed donations.”
The public can follow Patrick’s progress through this Facebook page: www.facebook.com/dialysis4patrick/ In addition, Patrick has a Bank of Nova Scotia Account at the St Ann’s Bay branch set up for dialysis: Patrick Williams account 931100. Donations can also be made at: https://www.youcaring.com/patrickwilliams-817792.
“So far we’ve been able to raise about $155,000, a far cry from the $13,000,000 it will cost for a transplant, and the post-op drugs,” said Mera Belisle Johnson, a family friend of Nicky Johnson, who is also playing a key role in organizing fundraising efforts.