After struggling to raise funds and successfully undergoing a bone marrow transplant in India, Zelia Castello still needs help.
In a telephone interview yesterday, Castello, a Municipal police officer, explained the procedure was done in December, but she was unaware that she would have to do follow-up chemotherapy treatments.
However, her dilemma is that the type of chemotherapy recommended for her is not available in Trinidad and the total course is costing US$100,000.
Diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma, the 27-year-old mother of one left last October for India to do the procedure which was mostly funded through the donations.
She underwent chemotherapy which sent her into remission and the bone marrow transplant done at Fortis Memorial Research Institute.
She explained, “I was of the opinion that I would’ve been returning home the second week in January, only to be told that I wouldn’t be able to leave unless I purchase 16 cycles of the said chemo that was used to send me into remission, mainly because it is not available in Trinidad.”
Castello said two weeks ago she paid US$7,000 for the first cycle and the second cycle is due next week, but her funds are depleted.
“It’s the same chemo that sent me into remission that they will continue using because that is the only chemo that had a response on my body. We did not cater for that, we had already stopped fund-raisers.”
She provided a copy of the invoice from the hospital which stated that the total cost of the 16 cycles was $112,000.
Castello does not have the money to purchase the chemotherapy, but the hospital is hesitant to discharge her without it.
“The hospital don’t want to send me back because that chemo is transported on ice. If it is shipped to Trinidad it will take six weeks to get here and by that time the drug will not be able to be used. It must stay cold. Normally they will give the patient a permit to travel on the flight with it, so you could go home with it. Now that I am faced with this, that comes with expenses. The longer I am here more rent I have to pay, I still have to buy food. I still have to go to hospital to do tests, blood work. So it will be more than the US $112,000,” she said.
Grateful and thankful to everyone who contributed almost $200,000 towards her procedure, Castello said, “I am just asking persons who can assist, please help me. I just want to come back home,” she said.
Anyone who wants to donate can use this account, Zelia Christiana Castello FCB act # 2283611
(Savings), or https://gofund.me/2d91dc9d