Becoming a radio announcer was one of Kimberly Mitchell-Scott's career goals. When she achieved this in 2006, her aim was to energise listeners every day on her mid-morning programme on 96.1WEFM. Now, the mother of one hopes the energy and good vibes she shared with the listeners will be reciprocated in the form of financial support to help her fund emergency eye surgery she needs to save her sight."If I do not get this surgery done soon, I will go blind," she told the T&T Guardian.Mitchell-Scott, who is also a Type-1 diabetic, found out two months ago she had diabetic retinal detachment or diabetic retinopathy in both eyes.In July, while on honeymoon in Miami, Mitchell-Scott noticed something was strange with her vision."I had a floater in my left eye that was extremely annoying and was not going away. I visited a pharmacist to find out if they had any medication I could use for it and they advised me to see an eye doctor," she recalled.
On her return home, a visit to an opthalmologist revealed the medical condition. The specialist advised immediate surgery was required to salvage what was left of her sight.In disbelief, a 32-year-old Mitchell-Scott sought a second opinion. But it only confirmed the first diagnosis.On the advice of the first doctor to have the surgery done abroad, she travelled back to Miami to seek help from one of the most reputable eye-care medical institutes in Miami, Bascom Palmer Eye Institute.In the hands of Dr Justin Townsend, assistant professor of clinical opthalmology at the University of Miami Health System, further tests were done and Mitchell-Scott also received laser eye surgery, which cost her US$3,560.But that was just the beginning. Mitchell-Scott has to do major surgery to repair the detachment at the cost of US$20,000; money she doesn't have. She said between now and January 10, she is trying to raise TT$150,000 which can cover the cost.
Shaking her head in despair, Mitchell-Scott said: "My surgery is scheduled for January 12, I have to get that money or...I just don't even want to say it."She said the past year has been very challenging for her health wise."Before I found out about my eyes, I was hospitalised with kidney problems. I was told by the doctors the protein level in my urine was very high and I was practically operating with a quarter of the function of my kidneys," she explained.
She added, during her pregnancy ten years ago, she also had a similar experience when it was found protein was leaking into her kidneys, resulting in scarring. This is a symptom of diabetes which causes injury to small blood vessels including the blood vessels in the kidney. If this develops into a progressive chronic disease, kidney failure can occur.Additionally, the doctors also told Mitchell-Scott she was critically anaemic."I remained in hospital for about nine days receiving treatment to get my haemoglobin levels up, my sugar level stable and I was also placed on a strict diet to lessen my protein intake," she said.Mitchell-Scott also revealed having diabetes led to two miscarriages which left her emotionally wounded.
"Now I have to deal with finding so much money to save my sight. I am just really overwhelmed. I don't know what's next. I feel like my life is escaping me bit by bit and I have no control over it."I can't even get insurance coverage because they will not insure me with all these medical problems. So everything is more or less an 'out of pocket' approach," Mitchell-Scott said.She is appealing to the public to help her raise the money to get the surgery done.T&T Radio Networks, of which 96.1 WEFM is a part, has been heavily advertising a "Smoke cue" that is being held with Mr Chow's Smoke House on Tragarete Road. The DJs and presenters on the TTRN stations (which also include 107.7 FM and 94.7 FM) have been actively urging listeners to support the cause.Tickets, which are available at TTRN's Tragarete Rd offices, cost $50 but Mitchell-Scott will only receive half of the money from the sale of each ticket.
What is retinal detachment?
Retinal detachment or diabetic retinopathy is retinopathy (damage to the retina) caused by complications of diabetes, which can eventually lead to blindness. It is an ocular manifestation of diabetes, a systemic disease, which affects up to 80 per cent of all patients who have had diabetes for ten years or more.
Kimberly Mitchell-Scott is also opening a bank account for public donations. Those who wish to donate before the account becomes active can do so by contacting 790-5369 and 798-9696 or the office of T&T Radio Network (TTRN) at 628-9696.You can also visit Mitchell-Scott on Facebook or follow her on Twitter @Kimberlym961.