A NINE-year-old boy who partially lost his sight because of his fight with cancer is pleading with donors to assist him so that he can go overseas for treatment.
When most boys his age go to school and play with their friends, Josaia Temo, from Lakeba in Lau, has to stay indoors because of his condition.
Josaia suffers from genetic skin cancer and the disease has infected his left eye and caused partial blindness. He has lived with his grandmother ever since he was born and now 70 years of age, she continues to look after him.
When The Fiji Times visited Josaia and his grandmother Litiana Moce at their host's Raiwaqa home in Suva yesterday, he was lying on a mattress with his forehead and eyes heavily bandaged. Mereoni Taginadavui, a volunteer with the Fiji Cancer Society, said she was taking care of Josaia and helping with his condition.
Ms Taginadavui, a cancer survivor, said despite his serious condition, Josaia is full of life and loves to sing and pray. "We first found out about his case when we went to visit some of the rural islands to meet cancer patients and we found Josaia with his grandmother," she said.
Ms Taginadavui said Josaia was diagnosed with skin cancer in 2006 but they had lost contact when his grandmother had moved to the village.
"We are thankful to Project Heaven who were able to relocate Josaia during their trips to the island. His grandmother had brought him to the project for his eye infection," she said. She said Josaia has two big sores on his head and his eye infection but they were glad that his condition was improving.
"He was released from hospital one week ago and since we do not have any hospice, we were very glad when Alumita Cokanavula agreed to provide one bedroom in her house for Josaia and his grandmother to stay in,' she said. Speaking in Fijian and with tears in her eyes, his grandmother Ms Moce said she was the only family Josaia had and she had been taking care of him all these years. But she said with her advanced age it had become hard for her and she said she was thankful to all those who were helping them.
Ms Taginadavui said Save the Children Fiji, Fiji Cancer Society and Project Heaven were working to get people to donate money and medicial items to help Josaia. She said the money collected by Save the Children and Fiji Cancer Society would be used for Josaia's travel cost and treatment in New Zealand.
"Josaia is like any other nine-year-old boy and when he is not in pain, he will sing and talk to us. The only time he is in pain is when his bandages are changed and his sores are cleaned and it is very heart-wrenching to see him that way,' she said.
Those who wish to make a donation to help with Josaia's overseas treatment can do so by depositing into the Fiji Cancer Society Sashi Goundan Account.
Adpted from Fijitimes Online