Nine years ago, Matthew Gordon suffered the pain of losing his father to colon cancer. Now, the 23-year-old’s life is being threatened by the same disease.
On October 12 he got the dreadful diagnosis — the cancer eating away his body is at stage four.
Gordon, who is now in Black River Hospital, is to learn from his doctor this Friday the cost to start chemotherapy, but he has a major problem — he cannot find the money to start the treatment. As such, he is seeking financial help in his effort to combat the vicious disease.
The Jamaica Observer saw confirmation of Gordon’s diagnosis from Villa Medical Centre in Mandeville where he underwent a test on October 12.
The diagnosis has revived memories of the pain he endured after his father died in 2010.
“I went to Maggotty High School [but I] didn’t graduate [as] I dropped out. I wasn’t a bad child but I was troubled due to my father’s death, and because of the trauma I resorted to anger, instead of speaking to someone,” Gordon, who is from St Elizabeth, told the Observer last week.
“The area I lived in was also not okay at the time and when the police came in and introduced the Police Youth Club I was recommended for the Charge Up Programme done by the Ministry of Education Youth and Information, and from that I became a youth club aide. I went on a one-week training programme, changed my life, started working in youth clubs, rebuilding them, and so forth,” he said.
When the reality of his diagnosis sunk in, he said he told God that he was placing everything in His hands.
“I was calm. I wasn’t fretting when I found out,” Gordon said.
He recalled that he had been feeling ill for quite some time but because of financial difficulties he had to delay doing a medical test that later revealed his condition.
“I felt sick from the 13th of July. I was back and forth at the hospital doing blood tests, ultrasounds, faeces tests, which all came back negative. I decided to go do a colonoscopy on the 4th of October but I didn’t have the money so I had to push it back to the following week,” he said.
That test was paid for by a friend and mentor, who opted not to be named.
Even though the diagnosis came as a shock to Gordon’s family and friends, he is still hoping for the best.
“I feel great today, knowing that I have accepted Jesus Christ. I have a little doubt, though, because of the cancer. I can’t eat at all. I can only drink and I have to take my time due to my condition right now,” he said.
“It has started to spread to my liver and some walls in my rectum. I need some prayers, support and donations,” he said.
“This thing is not a blow over and I am young. I’m trying my best to not fret or cry. My family doesn’t really have it, so it’s quite a challenge for me but I am trying to be strong,” he said.
The news has proved devastating for his mother Denise Gordon.
“I don’t have words to explain how I feel,” she told the Observer last week.
The mother, who has been unemployed for about six years, said that she used to operate a cook shop, but things had taken a bad turn and she has not been able to revive the business.
Gordon’s mentor described the young cancer patient as someone with a passion for volunteerism and is hoping that he will get the financial assistance needed.
Yesterday, St Elizabeth South Western Member of Parliament Floyd Green told the Observer that he visited Gordon in hospital last Friday.
“His mother was there, and apparently there is a history of cancer in the family. He was in good spirits and trying to stay positive,” Green said, adding that Gordon was active in youth clubs in St Elizabeth.