society

Father sells belongings to save his sick daughter

One-year-old suffers from a chromosomal condition and is fighting for her life

17:40 October 10, 2017
Sick baby

Dubai: The father of a one-year-old girl is selling his own belongings online and collecting second-hand items to hold a garage sale this month in order to raise money for the treatment of his child, who is suffering from a rare life-threatening condition.

Abu Dhabi residents, Joel Lamando Carbonell and his wife had their second child, Leane Carbonell, in August last year, while unaware that their baby suffered from a chromosomal condition called Trisomy 13, which affects one in over 16,000 newborns.

“When our baby started having breathing issues, the doctors ran some tests and diagnosed her with the condition. They said she wouldn’t live for very long,” Carbonell told Gulf News.

Joel Lamando Carbonell and his second child, Leane.

The condition, which is linked to severe intellectual disability and physical abnormalities in different parts of the body, often causes individuals to experience heart defects or spinal cord abnormalities, as well as other complications such as a cleft lip, weak muscle tone and poorly developed eyes.

Carbonell, who described his daughter as a “fighter,” said after visiting several hospitals in the UAE, no doctor agreed to operate on the baby due to her chromosomal condition.

“I emailed different countries explaining my daughter’s case, and I received a reply from India and Thailand. However, the doctors in India later refused to accept her case after they looked into her diagnosis,” said Carbonell, a Filipino.

The desperate father was forced to travel to Thailand in June, where his daughter underwent a pulmonary artery banding (PAB) surgical procedure to protect her lungs from irreversible damage.

“She surprised us two weeks after the surgery when she started moving and has improved a little that she is even smiling now. That has given me hope. I am praying to God to help my daughter,” said the tearful father.

Leane, who is currently admitted to Shaikh Khalifa Hospital in Abu Dhabi, will need to undergo an open-heart corrective surgery by the end of the year in order to increase her chances of survival.

Carbonell told Gulf News he was forced to resign from his previous job as a radio operator at an offshore national drilling company, where he was required to be on duty for 28 days at a time at an oil rig. “I had to resign to be able to take care of my daughter and find treatment for her. My wife and I have even taken out a personal loan to be able to survive for a few months,” he said.

Carbonell said his wife has been on leave from her job at an airline company for almost a year, with plans to return soon.

“Our family is sponsored through my wife’s job, and we are very thankful for that,” said Carbonell, who also has a 10-year-old son.

He pointed out that while the insurance coverage has helped pay for some of his daughter’s expenses, he is still partially in debt to the hospital in Thailand, where his daughter was treated. “My daughter is currently on the free government insurance for non-nationals called ‘Aounak,’ which covers treatment in government hospitals,” said Carbonell.

Hoping to raise enough money by the end of the year, Carbonell, aims to travel to the US, Canada or back to Thailand for his daughter’s second surgery.

“I am selling my stuff online, and collecting cloth donations and second-hand items from people in the community so I can hold a garage sale at the end of this month. I am a father and my job is to do everything to save my baby. After receiving so many rejections from funds and charity committees, all I can do is pray to God to help me save my little girl,” added Carbonell.