Safely back in SA – Jordan’s Journey continues after Dream Holiday turns to Nightmare
After his overseas dream holiday turned into a nightmare, a young cancer sufferer is safely back in South Africa thanks to the incredible support from family, friends, caring strangers and his medical insurance company which chose a human response to a tragic situation. Jordan Smith touched down in South Africa a couple of hours ago […]
After his overseas dream holiday turned into a nightmare, a young cancer sufferer is safely back in South Africa thanks to the incredible support from family, friends, caring strangers and his medical insurance company which chose a human response to a tragic situation.
Jordan Smith touched down in South Africa a couple of hours ago and is currently being transported by ambulance to his hometown, Durban.
The young 12-year-old has Chrondroblastic Osteosarcoma (bone cancer) and spent a year in Pretoria undergoing treatment. In September, after 107 days in hospital, 19 chemo treatments and seven operations, his uncle kindly offered to send him to the UK for a holiday once he had completed treatment.
On Christmas Day a message was posted on his special FB page (Jordan’s Journey) saying: “Merry Christmas everyone!! 2 sleeps until touch down in the UK… So much of excitement! ❤️❤️”
But then it all went horribly wrong.
The first sign was the day they arrived in the UK, on 27 December, and Jordy felt “very sick”.
A message posted on his page said: “Please Pray that it was just the flight and that he feels better in the morning. Come on Cancer – leave our baby alone and let him enjoy this holiday. It’s been such a long & difficult road – he DESERVES THIS!! He is really looking forward to enjoying some adventures…”
Jordy then set off on his dream trip to Disneyland in Paris but, according to a friend of his aunt, Claire Roadley, “oh his way he got really ill and it’s spread”. Doctors at a children’s hospital in Paris confirmed that the cancer has now spread to his lungs and brain.
Claire contacted SAPeople about the situation because “they need to urgently get him home”. His mother Tracy and father Andrew posted a message on Facebook appealing to everyone to “please pray for a miracle”.
They wrote “our nightmare has turned into a horror story…our medical aid has now refused to pay anything towards Jordy and have told us it’s going to cost in excess of R1.1-million to get him onto an aeroplane medically-assisted back to South Africa for urgent radiation.
“The doctors here in Paris will not start treatment because we are not covered financially, however have helped us to try to contact the South African Embassy but to no avail! We have contacted our travel insurance who are only paying out R100 000. We are INCREDIBLY DESPERATE to save our little boy’s life… Please, please, please help us in any way that you can. The doctors have told us that we need to get him to South Africa as quickly as possible.”
Subsequent posts identified Discovery Health as the medical insurer, so SAPeople contacted them for a comment from their side.
Their very prompt response was “we’re aware of Jordan’s case and in constant contact with his doctors via InternationalSOS. We’re still in the process of reviewing all avenues of care. Rest assured that we’re keeping track of his progress to ensure that he receives the best care possible. Thank you for showing him your support.”
True to their word, Discovery have ensured he receives the best care…
Yesterday Jordan’s relieved parents posted the good news: “Discovery Health have just informed us that they are over turning their previous decision and are now helping and paying for Jordys flight back to Durban!! We would like to thank everyone for all their support…”
Last night paramedics arrived at the hospital in Paris to escort Jordy to Charles de Gaulle Airport where he flew to Johannesburg. He is currently being driven, by ambulance, to Durban.
It has been a long gruelling journey for Jordan and his family since his diagnosis in March 2012. His leg has been amputated. He has spent almost two years away from most of his schoolfriends, undergoing treatment.
But through it all, he and his family have received a tremendous amount of support from the community. Friends have arranged fundraising events. The kids at Northway Pre Primary held a spring raffle to donate and make a difference in Jordan’s life. Reach for a Dream took him on a flight. A wonderful lady Debbie seems to have arranged many wondrous things for Jordan, including watching the Springboks practise at the end of September where he was reunited with his rugby hero Pat Lambie. Jordan’s dream has always been to be a professional rugby player.
Back in September, during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, Jordan’s mom wrote:
“I never thought that it would be my little boy. I never thought that they would say the words ‘cancer’. I never thought that I would ever shed so many tears as I have. I never thought that I would hold my son at night and think ‘why?’. I never thought that I would be able to give him his injections in his tummy or be able to clean up vomit day in and out. I never thought that I would be as scared as I have been.
“I never thought I would have to beg God every second of every day to cure my special boy. I never thought that I would have to make the decision to cut off my child’s leg. I never thought that this would be the life I would lead. One day I woke up and my life changed – This could be your status!! GO GOLD THIS SEPTEMBER, spread awareness and help to find a cure so that no other parent has to say ‘I never thought it would be my child’.”
As Jordan makes his journey home now in the ambulance, his family asks simply “please pray for our boy!”
UPDATE Monday, 5 January 2014
Jordan arrived safely at the hospital yesterday evening in Durban and is currently in surgical ICU. “The doctors are reviewing his scans and we are hopeful that treatment will start ASAP,” reads a message on his FB page.