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The Shinell Stewart Story

Shinell Stewart was born 15 years ago in the Falmouth Hospital. She is from Wakefield, about 8 miles south of Falmouth. With her birth came a battle with heart problems, starting from the day she was born.

Shinell is afflicted with heart valve dysplasia, which affects her aortic valve. This is a congenital heart defect that causes leakage and backflow of blood that is ejected from the left ventricle. The abnormality causes the blood to flow back from the ascending aorta, back into the left ventricle.

Doctors at the University Hospital of the West Indies (Mona) have recommended an Aortic Valve Replacement Surgery to correct the condition.

Meet Shinell Stewart

shinell-stewart-portraitShinell attends the nearby Muschette High School in Wakefield, Trelawny. She is the last of 4 children for Vivienne “Pauline” Whittaker. Pauline is unemployed and has been for some time.

Unemployed Single Mother

Being unable to find steady employment has frustrated Pauline and hampered her ability to get the treatment required for her daughter’s illness. To make matters worse, Shinell’s father has been absent from their lives and has never played a part in Shinell’s life even before her birth.

Treatment and Finances

Because of the defective heart, Shinell was taken intermittently to the Bustamante Hospital for Children, which is over 100 miles away in Kingston. As one would expect, this began to take a toll on finances and mother had to stop for a few years.

You are too old

Pauline fought her way back and started taking her back to the hospital. Soon after, they received bad news. Shinell was now too old to be treated for her heart problem. Another way had to be found.

Cost of Surgery

There was no choice but to take her to the private UHWI Mona Hospital. There, the doctors recommended that Shinell should do an Aortic Valve Replacement surgery. They were given a three part invoice totalling almost J$1.5 million, which is currently approximately US$12,000.

shinell-stewart - mother

Local Fund Raising

This was too much for the poor family, in a country where the minimum wage is less than US$45 per week. Friends, family the church and community came to the rescue. There was a combination of proceeds from a church concert, a walkathon, foreign donations, family and friends donations as well as help from persons in the community.

Invoice (Click on image to enlarge)

Shinell Stewart Invoice 2

Pauline was thankfully able to cover 2 of the three hurdles. They paid for the consumables and equipment; now they have to find the hospital fee. They have tried, but seem to have exhausted all local sources of funding. CLICK HERE to Donate through her GoFundMe Account.

Hip Surgery

To make matters worse, Shinell also has a hip problem. X-Rays show that she has a wider gap than normal between her hip bones. The pain at times is unbearable, especially after walking long distances. surgeons say only an operation can correct it. Since she has the heart problem, it is recommended that she does the heart procedure first, then hip surgery.

Two Operations for Shinell

This is a huge burden for young Shinell and family. Two operations and no real reliable source of income. Having exhausted their local sources of funding, they are appealing for your assistance in funding her operation(s).

We apologize for the poor audio quality on the video. This is what she said:

Hi, this is Pauline, this is my daughter Shinell. I’m asking for your help for her to do the heart surgery. I’ve come up with a little, but it seems like I can’t reach any further; so I’m asking you for your help. Thank you.

Go Fund Me Account For Donations

The family has set up a Go Fund Me Account to accept donations on her behalf. Your generosity will go a far way in saving and creating a better life for young Shinell, whose ambition is to become a teacher.

Pauline may be contacted by phone: 1 876 449 8277.

Donate to help Fund Shinell Stewart’s heart surgery. CLICK HERE to go to her GoFundMe Account.

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6 COMMENTS

  1. I hope it works out for Shinell, I have a four months old baby boy who needs a similar surgery to correct ventricular septal defect (VSD) in two months time. I don’t see the funds for his surgery but I believe, I will donate to Shinell surgery too because as a mother of an only child I feel her pain. God is able Shinell.

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