Five months after eight-year-old Javier Anderson was diagnosed with cancer, his left leg was amputated due to the dreaded disease but the little swimmer and cricketer’s only wish for his birthday next month is for someone to give him a prosthetic leg so he can be active again.
“I was thinking before I go into the surgery ‘Imagine I now learn to swim and my leg is going to get cut off’…I want to be back in the water and be able to swim again and play cricket …and you know I will, I just know I will. All I need is a leg,” Javier Anderson told Stabroek News in an interview.
Filled with care and love for his mom, he not only has to grapple with his unforeseen disability but memories of a father who ill-treated the mother he adores. His resilience and determination to plod on with life, shone when he topped this year’s Courts Essay Competition on why his mom is the Mother of the Year.
“My mommy is a very strong person. She has gone though a lot of tough times especially since she found the courage to come out of a bad marriage. However she never gave up on me and my brother …she is like sunshine on my sad and rainy days,” an excerpt of his winning essay read.
The aspiring pilot sat down at his Tucville home yesterday with Stabroek News for an interview and his poise and confidence was illustrative of the maturity his mother and grandmother describe.
“Last year on and off I would get this pain in my leg sometimes sharp, sometimes just passing I would tell my mom and we would rub it or whatever but then in November it got worse. My mom took me to West Dem (Demerara) hospital and they checked it but said I was fine,” he related.
The grade three student of North Georgetown Primary explained that he knew that he was not fine because of the excruciating pains he felt and asked his mom to take him to a private hospital which she did. He was referred to bone specialist Dr Jeffrey.
“We went to Mercy (St Joseph’s Mercy Hospital) and I saw Dr. Joseph. He recommended an MRI and when it went back he told us that I had Osteosarcoma …they prepared us and everything. I had to do some treatments and stuff but he said my leg would have to be amputated,” the eight-year-old related.
On Good Friday of this year, while other boys his age were preparing their kites, Javier was thinking about going into the operating theatre with two legs, coming out with one, and wondering if he would ever be able to do the things he loves again.
He said that it was only shortly after learning to swim that he was diagnosed with the cancer and when he was told this year that his leg would have to be amputated his thoughts went to being able to swim again in the pool and ride his new bicycle.
“ I want to ride my bike again and swim too …it’s not impossible, people did it before but this swimming, man you can imagine how I feel right now ketching the thing and braps they gone with a leg,” he joked .
While he pointed out that dealing with chemotherapy and now living with an amputated leg has been difficult, he lapsed into sadness as he said watching his mother cry because of daily abuse had been worse.
“I love my mom so much but my father would beat her and I would watch her cry and start crying too…I would get so angry and want to shout at my father but I know he would turn on me…he was very abusive,” he said for the first solemn moment during the interview.
“He always out and would drink a lot but never at home to help my mother she always do everything and she just put up with that all the time …when she decided that she was leaving I was proud of her,” he further said.
Further, he informed that while his father visited on the day of his surgery he has been very scarce since.
The grade three student related that his mother moved out of the home shared with his father with her two sons into the home of their grandmother and while he enjoyed being able to have more space at his father’s home, “the blue house” as he calls it gives him peace. “I like here better I am at more peace and she is happier too,” he said.
However he wishes that his mother would leave him in his grandmother’s care and find time to do things for herself. “She just doesn’t leave my side. All at the hospital I sleep she there. I wake up she there I have to tell her go do something for you for a change” he said and smiled.
He said that he wants his mother to be able to have a home of her own to share with him and his three year old brother. He remains confident that he will beat the cancer and will someday be the pilot he dreams of.
His mother Lizzanna Anderson sat quietly as her son spoke of his life as he saw it and when she did she echoed most of what he said. “He is such a loving child and his memory is so good,” Anderson pointed out.
She and her mother said that her son’s faith gives her the hope that all will be well. “When we are crying for him he gets upset and calmly tells us we shouldn’t cry because he will be okay and us crying isn’t helping him,” his grandmother said.
Lizanna has had to stop working in order to be able to take care of her son full time and now that his surgery is completed and he is looking to head back to school to be with his friends she too will be seeking a job.
She says that it is her wish also that someone hears of her son’s story and grants his birthday wish of a prosthetic leg. However she said that with his hand muscles weakening because of the chemotherapy she would also be grateful for games that strengthen them. “I too want him to have a leg but it’s $500,000 and we don’t have that money …I pray that someone hears and can give him what he so badly prays for,” she said.
The Andersons can be reached at Lot J4, 936 Jackson Street, Tucville or on telephone numbers 223-1068 (Home) or 602-7631(Mobile).