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He is only 23 and has stage four colon cancer

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He is only 23 and has stage four colon cancer

Young man seeks help to pay for treatment

BY SHANAE STEWART
Observer staff reporter
stewarts@jamaicaobserver.com

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

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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.

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Photo: Advancing science education

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Photo: Advancing science education

Thursday, November 21, 2019

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Jamaican American Connection (JAC) New Haven President Karaine Holness (left) presents equipment, including SMART whiteboards, books, lab equipment such as lab glassware, stationery supplies and various labspecific consumables, to the principal of Convent of Mercy Academy “Alpha”, Kali McMorris (second left), and Arthens Smith (second right) of Holy Trinity High School while JAC member Janice Hart looks on, at Alpha in Kingston on Tuesday. As part of the initiative to advance science education, equipment was also handed over to Kingston College.
(Photo: Garfield Robinson)


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Gov’t gets support from Church to fight challenge to buggery laws

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Gov’t gets support from Church to fight challenge to buggery laws

Thursday, November 21, 2019

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KINGSTOWN, St Vincent (CMC) — High Court Judge Justice Esco Henry yesterday ruled to allow 10 churches, calling themselves the Christian Coalition, to join the Ralph Gonsalves Government in responding to the constitutional challenge to the buggery and gross indecency laws in St Vincent and the Grenadines.

Justice Henry handed down the ruling one week after hearing arguments from the Christian Coalition and lawyers for the claimants, gay Vincentians Sean MacLeish and Javin Johnson.

Shirlan “Zita” Barnwell, one of the two lawyers representing the claimants, told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) that the judge agreed to allow the churches to join the lawsuit as an interested party.

He said they will be allowed to file written submissions and make oral arguments to the court.

However, in terms of evidence, the churches are restricted to filing two affidavits, Barnwell said.

Justice Henry is expected to issue her written ruling today.

Barnwell and Jomo Thomas are representing the claimants, who say the country’s anti-buggery and gross indecency laws contravene their constitutional rights.

Under the Criminal Code, any person who commits buggery with any other person, commits buggery with an animal, or permits any person to commit buggery with him or her is guilty of an offence and liable to imprisonment for 10 years.

The Criminal Code also says that any person who, whether in public or private, commits any act of gross indecency with another person of the same sex, or procures or attempts to procure another person of the same sex to commit an act of gross indecency with him or her, is guilty of an offence and liable to imprisonment for five years.

The men are asking the court to declare the laws unconstitutional, void and of no effect.

Ten churches had asked to join the attorney general in responding to the challenge to these laws. They include the Seventh-day Adventist Church; Evangelical Church of the West Indies; New Testament Church of God; Spiritual Baptist Church; Church of God St  Vincent; New Life Ministries; Light of Truth Church of God; Kingstown Baptist Church; Living Water Ministries International; and Hope Evangelism Outreach Ministries.

Last week Wednesday, hundreds of Vincentians took to the streets in support of the present legislation and urged the authorities not to amend the legislation to suit the claimants.

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Nine Caribbean countries to participate in new UN project

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Nine Caribbean countries to participate in new UN project

Thursday, November 21, 2019

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BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC) — The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is launching a multi million-dollar project in nine Caribbean countries that will enable gender responsive disaster recovery, climate and environmental resilience (EnGenDER) in the Caribbean.

The US$15 million project will ensure equal access to sustainable solutions for the improved resilience of women and men in Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines and Suriname.

It is being funded by Canada and the United Kingdom Department for International Development.

UNDP said that its prior support to the development of National Adaptation Plans (NAPs) and Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs) will now be scaled up as a result of the new project.

The NAP process was created by the United Nations as an opportunity for countries to plan for sustainable development in the face of climate stress while NAMAs, on the other hand, focus on mitigation – reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

EnGenDER will support the implementation of priority areas, as identified by partner governments, within these policy documents, ensuring that plans are gender-responsive – considering the vulnerabilities, strengths and needs of different groups of women and men. This work will be undertaken through consultative and participatory approaches, with key stakeholders identifying and leading priority actions.

UNDP resident representative for Barbados and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Magdy Martinez Soliman, said “Canada and the United Kingdom have been working collaboratively in the region for many years and this project provides a new opportunity to demonstrate our commitment to increasing resilience in the Caribbean.

“It is anticipated that the partnerships built at the regional and national levels will produce important results as the region faces the increasing impacts of climate change.”

The UNDP said that it is coordinating the collaborative project that includes UN Women, partnering to build capacity in developing gender-responsive plans, and conducting behavioural analysis of gender-responsiveness in risk governance among decision makers as well as the World Food Programme (WFP), which is working to enhance social protection systems to make them more shock-responsive.

EnGenDER will integrate a gender equality and human rights-based approach into disaster risk reduction, climate change adaptation and environmental actions.

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