Meet Olson – receiving life saving treatment at St. Damien

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Olson*, is four-old boy from Jacmel, a town located two hours away from Port-au-Prince. His mother’s name is Rolande and his father is Maudelaire and they have three other children. Despite the challenges, he has had to face at such a young age, Oson is still a curious, helpful and sweet little boy to everyone he meets. His best friend is his cousin Priscille, whom he loves to play with at home.

In August 2014, Olson had hernia surgery at St. Damien Pediatric Hospital. In March 2015, his mom discovered he was suffering from cancer. The disease started with stomachaches and his mom discovered that there was a hard lump on his belly. His mother started to give him some common medicine for gas, but he did not improve, so they went to see a private doctor in their neighborhood in Jacmel. The doctor requested a scan and then referred them to St. Damien Pediatric Hospital.

When Olson arrived at St. Damien, he was quickly examined by the doctors and nurses and was admitted to the hospital oncology ward. He has blood tests, urine, X-Ray and two more scans and biopsy procedure. The result showed that Olson had Rhabdomyosarcoma abdominal. Because the family lives too far away from the hospital and because of the financial circumstances, a parent is obligated to sleep at the hospital with the child. This of course can be a strain on the family if the other parent has to work.

Olson is currently started his treatment of chemotherapy at St. Damien in the cancer ward. At first he had some complication with the chemotherapy, such as not being able to talk, swelling, fever and vomiting. His health is getting better since he’s been taking the medicine. After chemotherapy he will have to travel to the Dominican Republic in the coming month to continue the radiation treatment, however beforehand he will have to get another scan to see if the chemotherapy reduced the tumor.

According to Maulaire, “I want to thank the initiative of this hospital because when my private doctor referred my child to Port-au-Prince at St. Damien Hospital, I was already thinking if there really is somewhere that they treat cancer in Haiti and I felt disparate as I don’t have money to travel to a foreign country. I really believe that without this hospital, without St. Damien, my child would already have died.”

*Name changed to protect privacy.

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