‘Sassy’ in need of more help

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By Latrishka Thomas

Calypsonian and former OBSERVER Radio on-air personality Ava Charles McKenzie, also known as Sassy, is recovering from surgery at the St. Clair Medical Centre in Trinidad after she had fallen gravely ill several weeks ago. However, the artiste is in dire need of more financial assistance to offset the cost of some follow-up procedures.

“Compared to how she went down there, she is much better right now, but she is still very weak and in need of more medical care,” McKenzie’s son Orville Charles told OBSERVER media on the weekend.

“She will be staying in Trinidad for continuous care because she had two major operations and she has post-operation visits, so she is going to need to stay down there for a while. The major problem that she went down there for, which were the failing organs, those were operated on and taken care of but she is in need of follow up operations.”

He further explained that what was initially a US $20,000 procedure has now incurred a cost of over US $100,000.

“When she first went down there it was for an operation that would have cost US $20,000. But by time they were finished it cost over US $50,000. Then, the doctor that works at the hospital as a traveling specialist … did some checks [and] saw that she needed a second operation immediately … They called around 11 and said it needed to be done at 12; and they said this operation would cost another US $50,000. They say they wanted to know when they would get the money. We couldn’t get US $50,000 in one hour so we went to the government; we went to Molwyn Joseph…we couldn’t get that in one hour so they canceled the surgery,” Charles said.

He said the Government eventually made the decision to take care of the US $50,000 and the surgery was therefore rescheduled.

He continued: “While they operated on her, her liver was in a really bad state so they had to take it out of her body and while they were operating on her liver they saw that parts of her colon was cancerous and they said they could remove it and another US $12,000 was added. The bill right now is US $108,000 so we are trying to make that goal; so that’s why we need the second push to help out with covering that bill.”

McKenzie fell ill in late July and was rushed to the Mount St. John’s Medical Center where, after several tests, it was discovered that her organs were failing and her liver had stopped working due to an inoperable mass.

The singer was placed in an induced coma and her family went on a mission raise funds for a special operation to save her life and air ambulance to Trinidad.

With the help of Health Minister Molwyn Joseph, the Medical Benefits Scheme and residents who made contributions via a Go Fund Me page, McKenzie was airlifted to Trinidad where she has since had successful surgeries.

People wishing to contribute can do so by making payments to an account that has been set up at the CIBC First Caribbean International Bank via account number 107-008-038.

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