By Elesha George
Cathya Pelle has died after spending about six weeks in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at the Sir Lester Bird Medical Centre.
In late July, Pelle reportedly fell from the second floor of the abandoned Miami Supermarket on All Saints Road where she stayed with her partner.
The 33-year-old suffered a broken neck and was rendered paralyzed due to the fall.
Media Relations Specialist for the Ayre Foundation, Jamila Kirwan said the foundation was notified that she passed away at 5:25am today.
“This is extremely sad for us at CAF, as we had so much hope that, after her life-saving surgery we funded – although essentially quadriplegic- she would have received the therapy, counseling and specialized care required for her to be able to control an electronic wheelchair and regain some form of independence. CAF was actually looking into ways to assist her further with rehabilitation and psychological counseling”, she told Observer.
“We at the Calvin Ayre Foundation and Ambassador Calvin Ayre, extend sincerest condolences to Cathya’s family and friends”, she said.
In August, the Calvin Ayre Foundation (CAF) gave a symbolic donation cheque of EC$88,450, after activist Mary John reached out to them on the family’s behalf.
The money funded a seven-hour-long surgery and hospitalization fees. The Ayre Group also flew in Consulting Orthopaedic Surgeon, Dr. Mark Prempeh from the United Kingdom to conduct Posterior Cervical Reduction and Fixation.
The operation involved realignment and stabilization of Pelle’s spinal segments and removing the damaged disc and inserting a cage.
The doctor said then that had Pelle not undergone this surgery, the nerves that control the muscles of respiration would have been affected and she would not have been able to breathe independently.
After the surgery, Pelle was reportedly able to move her left elbow, was breathing on her own and didn’t fully require using a hard collar to support her neck.
CAF had hoped that with rehabilitation, proper nutrition and other specialized care, she may have been be able to control an electric wheelchair and regain some form of independence.
Pelle and her partner who is currently still living on the street, were part of an Observer documentary on homelessness in St John’s.
They had both been struggling with cocaine addiction.
At the time of the filming, the couple managed to wean themselves off the drugs but our newsroom was later informed that Pelle had relapsed.
The police are still investigating the circumstances that led to her injury.