St. John’s, Antigua: Tuesday, February 2, 2021: One grateful family is now moving forward with hope upon learning that they would receive a donation for their two-week old son, Kairo Spencer’s, emergency airlift and expenses, from the Calvin Ayre Foundation, in the amount of EC$62,327.00.
Baby Kairo’s parents, Jusette James and Tarik Spencer, now alive with optimism, expressed gratitude for having received the donation they almost thought would have been impossible, after reaching out to various organizations.
Kairo was born prematurely on January 16th and was diagnosed with Small Bowel or Intestinal Atresia. The condition is one in which there is a narrowing of the segment of the intestine that connects the stomach to the large intestine. As such, Kairo has not eaten since birth and often regurgitates any food given to him via intravenous methods.
According to cincinattichildrens.org website, all children with intestinal atresia and stenosis require an operation, and the exact type of operation differs depending on the location of the obstruction.
With no on-island paediatric surgeon to perform this type of surgery, the family was faced with waiting for a visiting surgeon, before Kairo could be examined. The significant impact on travel caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, would delay Kairo’s chance of survival, as his condition would become critical after two weeks without immediate medical intervention.
When the CAF team met with the parents and uncle of Baby Kairo, it was a meeting punctuated by anxiety, hushed tones to disguise tears, but mostly of hope.
Speaking on their feelings of their precious son’s condition, Jusette, a nurse by profession, said “I think that this (being a nurse) is the hardest part for me; seeing and knowing the drastic ends of both of it. I know first-hand that anything can happen, at any time. This is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to deal with – I never expected to have so much difficulty having my first child. Some days I don’t know feel like I can cope with it – I don’t know what else to do.”
Tarik added that for him, this was a very emotional time seeing Kairo like this, struggling and seeing Jusette stressed out and crying everyday. “I just want him to get through it and for him to be okay,” he said.
During the emotional presentation on Tuesday at the Ayre Group’s Canada Place Headquarters, the family accepted the donation in the amount of ES$67, 327. This will cover Kairo’s flight by air ambulance to Jamaica’s Bustamante Children’s Hospital, the cost of surgery and hospitalization.
CAF’s Executive Director, Corinna Delowsky, said, “We receive so many applications for assistance and the task of selecting the causes we support is very difficult. We would love to assist many more. Covid-19,” she added, “has posed an immense challenge and we have had to refocus towards Pandemic Relief. This new baby, who is only two weeks old, and his first time parents’ story really stood out to us. We hope our contribution gives Kairo a fighting chance.”
According to Ayre Group’s Media Relations Specialist, Jamilla Kirwan, “Kairo’s story is very relatable, as many families can envision themselves going through something similar and can empathize with his family and how they are navigating this challenging ordeal. We, at the CAF, are so elated to be able to assist this family in covering their medical expenses, including the medical airlift, hospitalization fees and fees for Kairo’s surgery.”
Curlson James, Kairo’s uncle and the family member that reached out to the Calvin Ayre Foundation, described the bittersweet ordeal as such; “You watch your siblings everyday and when something like this happens, you can’t help them and you don’t know the extent of stress they’re going through but being able to sit behind a computer and send out a plea (requesting assistance) and getting the response we have, is remarkable.”
Under the consultation of Dr. Abel of the Mount St. John’s Medical Centre (MSMJC), the arrangements to have Kairo flown out can now be made.
The advent of Kairo’s surgery is promising as it is medically shown that children who undergo surgery for intestinal atresia, in general, do well and complications after surgery are rare. (www.cincinattichildrens.org)
The Foundation, was founded by business mogul and Special Economic Envoy to Antigua and Barbuda, Ambassador Calvin Ayre in 2005. CAF’s Pillars of giving are Emergency Response, Social Development, Education and Sports.
UPDATE: “It is with much sadness that we inform of Baby Kairo’s passing, due to complications he developed. Kairo’s story is dear to us as we felt like he was our baby too.
We send our condolences to his family at this time of immense loss.”
– Executive Director, Corinna Delowsky