Jamaica: Uncle donates kidney to save Nephew’s life
#KINGSTON, March 5 (JIS): The year 2014 will forever be etched in the mind of Kasey Tulloch, as during his training to become a pilot, his world crumbled beneath him as a result of kidney failure, followed by a debilitating stroke.
As the illness worsened for the then 20 year-old trainee, and the medication began to drain the body of the Jamaican migrant to the United States, family members saw little hope of recovery, while a senior member of his medical team saw death as the only alternative to end young Tulloch’s suffering.
His mother, Mitzie Cross, tells JIS News that she entered a “state of depression” after witnessing the steady deterioration of her only son.
“When we found out that his kidneys had been shattered, he looked at me with sad eyes, and said ‘Mommy, I won’t be a pilot again’,” Miss Cross says, adding that many days she cried over her son’s health challenges.
Miss Cross and two cousins offered their kidneys, but they were not compatible and were rejected by the doctors.
News of Kasey’s ordeal touched his uncle, Kirk ‘Dan’ Cross, a resident of Kitson Town in St. Catherine. On informing his sister, Mitzie, that he would give one of his kidneys to his nephew, it was brushed aside as a joke.
The willing donor persisted, and soon his proposal was accepted. He passed medical tests and a US visitor’s visa was granted for him to travel to New York.
“I was overjoyed and praising God,” Miss Cross says, after getting the news that a kidney would soon be available for Kasey.
When she shared the information with her son, he said, “Yes. I am tired,” she adds, noting that her son was doing dialysis three days every week, and four hours each time.
“He (Kirk) saved Kasey’s life, and mine. I was in a dark place, and didn’t know what to do. All I could do was pray, and there came Dan,” Miss Cross told JIS News at her brother’s home in Kitson Town, where a ‘Thank You’ luncheon was held on Saturday (February 29), with family members, community persons, and members of the medical team from the New York University (NYU), where the surgery was done.
They also had an appreciation segment to the event at the Kitson Town Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) Church.
“It feels like a miracle. My life revolved around dialysis, making me feel hungry and drained. My life came to a standstill, I didn’t know what next,” Kasey said.
“I was not driving. Now I drive, and work,” he noted, pointing out that technology allows kidney transplants to be done like regular surgeries.
Asked why he gave up one of his kidneys to enable the recovery of his nephew, Mr. Cross told JIS News that two of his nephews had died in quick succession, one from drowning, and the other by gunmen, and “I couldn’t save them”.
“I couldn’t bury another one. It was too hard, so I had to help, and I told my sister that if anything happens to me during the surgery, they should give Kasey the two kidneys. It is all good to see my nephew driving and working again,” he said.
Reflecting on the gesture by Kirk Cross, Administrative Nurse at NYU, Margaret Frank Bader, said “it is the greatest act of kindness that someone could express to another human being,” and it should be promoted to encourage other families and individuals to come “forward” and show love to those with similar health problems.
For Assistant Professor of Surgery at NYU, Dr. Bruce E. Gelb, the Kasey Tulloch story is “amazing”.
“To see someone who was so sick, he had an organ failure, and is now healthy, is truly amazing. Medicine is a very rewarding profession, but transplant surgery and taking care of transplant patients is even more special,” he said.
“Everyone should think about being an organ donor. When you die, they save lives. There are not enough people to donate organs, and many people need transplants. Very few who die have the right circumstances that allow them to donate organs, and thousands of people have to die natural deaths for one person to be a candidate for an organ donation. People like Kirk are heroes,” Dr. Gelb told JIS News.
Wife of the donor, Charmaine Cross, told JIS News that her husband was determined to give his kidney, and nothing could stand in his way, or have him change his mind.
“I wouldn’t stop him, because I wanted Kasey to get better, and today, I am happy for all of this,” she said.
Sister, Lety Cross, who stood as the “backbone” in the family during the months of worry and uncertainty, described her brother as “brave”.
“We were all worrying what would have happened, and the waiting looked like an eternity,” she said.
Pastor Wayne Smikle, who served at the time as Head of the Kitson Town Circuit of SDA Churches, recalled that “Kirk was a bit nervous, and I reassured him that with medicine, it was possible for people to live with one kidney”.
“I prayed with the recipient and Dan. It is a Christian and humanitarian act to save somebody’s life, money can’t pay for the deed,” he said, while calling on other persons to follow the example and save lives.
The World Health Organization (WHO) classifies kidney diseases as “silent killers, which can largely affect your quality of life”, and recommends several precautions to prevent the ailments, such as maintenance of “an ideal body weight,” and keeping high blood pressure under control.
It also encourages appropriate levels of salt intake, healthy diets, and regular health/kidney checks, “if you have diabetes, if you have hypertension, if you are obese, and if you have a family history of kidney disease”.
JIS NEWS by Garfield L. Angus
ROYAL CARIBBEAN GROUP ANNOUNCES GROUND-BREAKING BIOFUEL TESTING, ACCELERATING THE INDUSTRY’S ENERGY TRANSITION
Celebrity Cruises’ Celebrity Apex and Royal Caribbean International’s Symphony of the Seas will be at the forefront of alternative fuel use thanks to extended sustainable biofuel tests this summer in Europe
MIAMI, June 06, 2023 – This summer, Royal Caribbean Group (NYSE: RCL) will set a new industry milestone in alternative fuel use when Celebrity Cruises’ Celebrity Apex and Royal Caribbean International’s Symphony of the Seas, set sail in Europe using sustainable biofuel to meet part of the ships’ fuel needs. The landmark test will contribute critical data and research on the fuel’s capabilities and supply chain infrastructure needed to further the industry’s alternative fuel ambitions.
During the three-month test, Celebrity Apex will depart from the Port of Rotterdam and Symphony of the Seas will depart from the Port of Barcelona, using a biofuel blend that reduces the ships’ carbon emissions. The biofuel blend is produced by purifying renewable raw materials like oils and fats and combining it with fuel oil to create an alternative fuel that is cleaner and more sustainable.
“Biofuels will play an increasingly important role in achieving, not only our own, but the entire maritime sector’s decarbonization goals in the short and medium term. We take great pride in continuing to push our industry forward in exploring innovative fuel solutions that reduce carbon impact and preserve the vibrancy of the oceans we sail,” said Jason Liberty, President and CEO, Royal Caribbean Group.
The cruise company plans to continue increasing the use of alternative lower carbon fuel to meet the needs of its ships across the fleet. After the trials are completed this summer, Royal Caribbean Group plans to scale up the use of alternative fuels, including biofuels, across upcoming European summer sailings.
“With our sights set on a bright and sustainable future, we are committed to collaboration and innovation to ensure we deliver great vacation experiences, responsibly. With the completion of the trials our hope is to advance our ships’ ability to meaningfully reduce emissions and propel forward strategic partnerships with suppliers and ports to ensure there is sufficient availability of biofuel and infrastructures to make maritime energy transition a reality,” Liberty said.
This key step in Royal Caribbean Group’s pursuit of alternative fuels follows closely after a biofuel trial on its California-based Navigator of the Seas, became the first a cruise ship to sail from a U.S. port while using renewable diesel fuel this past fall.
With a sustainability journey that began over 30 years ago, Royal Caribbean Group has remained steadfast in its commitment to innovate, and advance, the solutions necessary for a better future. Building on a robust portfolio of technologies that improve energy efficiency, water treatment and waste management, trialing biofuels is a step that moves the company closer to achieving Destination Net Zero, its vision for net-zero emissions by 2050. To learn more about Royal Caribbean Group’s sustainability efforts, information is available at www.royalcaribbeangroup.com/sustainability.
Kamala Harris to meet with Caribbean leaders in The Bahamas
#USA, June 5, 2023 – Kamala Harris, United States Vice President will journey to Nassau Bahamas in June for a top level meeting with Caribbean leaders, marking the first time she will visit the region since occupying office in 2021.
According to the White House in a statement, the meeting will bring attention to a range of regional issues. Harris and the Caribbean leaders will continue talks on the shared efforts to address the climate crisis, such as promoting climate resilience and adaptation in the region and increasing energy security through clean energy.
Additionally, the statement informed that Harris’ trip “delivers on the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to advance cooperation with the Caribbean in pursuit of shared prosperity and security, and in recognition of the common bonds and interests between our nations.”
The June 8th meeting builds on and strengthens the U.S.-Caribbean Partnership to Address the Climate Crisis 2030, which was launched by the Vice President and Caribbean leaders in Los Angeles at the Summit of the Americas as further mentioned by White House Statement.
CARPHA Observes World No Tobacco Day
Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, June 5, 2023 – Tobacco use remains a major public health concern in the Caribbean Region. There is no safe level of exposure to tobacco smoke. The use of tobacco products in any form harms nearly every organ of the body, irrespective of whether it is smoked, smokeless, or electronic. Of all the forms of tobacco use, most common in the Caribbean region is cigarette smoking. Cigarette smoking is the number one risk factor for lung cancer. Using other tobacco products such as cigars or pipes also increases the risk for this disease.
Second-hand smoke exposure causes stroke, lung cancer, and coronary heart disease in adults; and acute respiratory infections and severe asthma in children. It is a preventable risk factor for noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), which are the leading cause of death, disease and disability among Caribbean people.
This year, World No Tobacco Day focuses on Grow Food, Not Tobacco. This campaign advocates for ending tobacco cultivation and switching to more sustainable crops that improve food security and nutrition. The campaign observed annually on 31 May, also informs the public on the dangers of direct use, and exposure to tobacco.
In the Caribbean Region, non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are the leading cause of death and disability – 76.8% of the total deaths (non-Latin Caribbean, excluding Haiti) were due to NCDs in 2016. Cardiovascular diseases 30.8% and cancer 17.2% are the leading causes of death due to NCD, both linked to tobacco use. Many of these persons die in the prime of their lives before the age of 70 years old. The prevalence of smokers for overall tobacco products ranged from 57.2% prevalence (95%CI 48.4 to 65.4%) to 16.2% (95%CI 11.2 to 23.0%). According to the Report on Tobacco Control in the Region of the Americas (2018) Caribbean countries have the highest levels of tobacco experimentation before the age of 10.
Dr. Joy St. John, Executive Director at the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) “Smokeless does not mean harmless. Nicotine in e-cigarettes is a highly addictive drug and can damage children’s developing brains. Children and adolescents who use e-cigarettes at least double their chance of smoking cigarettes later in life. Preventing tobacco product use among youth is therefore critical. It is important that we educate children and adolescents about the harms of nicotine and tobacco product use. We must work to prevent future generations from seeing such products as “normal”.”
In 2008, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) endorsed the recommendation to ban smoking in public spaces. Later, in 2012, CARICOM regulated a standard for labelling retail packages of tobacco products with health warnings. Caribbean civil society organisations (CSOs), working in collaboration with local governments and international partners, have led the charge in fighting for significant gains in tobacco control in the Caribbean region.
Dr Heather Armstrong, Head, Chronic Disease and Injury: “At CARPHA, we believe that reducing the harm caused by tobacco use requires a collective approach, where government, civil society, and the individual play a critical role. CARPHA promotes the prevention of tobacco use in all forms and commitment to the WHO FCTC. The focus on tobacco control deals with the youth of the Region. Children and adolescents who use e-cigarettes at least double their chance of smoking cigarettes later in life.”
The Chronic Diseases and Injury Department of CARPHA provides leadership, strategic direction, coordinates and implements technical cooperation activities directed towards the prevention and control of NCDs in CARPHA Member States. CARPHA’s message for prevention of tobacco product use has spread across its Member States.
In 2018, CARPHA in partnership with the University of the West Indies (UWI), Global Health Diplomacy Program at the University of Toronto, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), and the Healthy Caribbean Coalition evaluated the Port of Spain Declaration to learn which mandates helped to prevent and control NCDs. Taxation, smoke-free public places mandate, and mandatory labelling of tobacco products are some of the leading policies making the biggest impact on reduction of tobacco use in the Caribbean regions.
CARPHA urges Member States to work together to prevent and reduce the use of all forms of tobacco products, and scale-up efforts to implement their commitments under the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). By doing so, the negative impact of smoking and its consequences on the health of our people, especially the younger generation, and the tremendous burden on the economies of the countries in our Region, will greatly be reduced.
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