Despite having setbacks with medical problems and missing school for almost two years, 16-year-old Clinton Warde of Paradise Village, West Coast Berbice performed successfully at the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) exams.
A student of President’s College, Clinton who was in the science stream has obtained 12 subjects in grades one, two and three, bringing his dreams of becoming a doctor, closer to reality.
He had felt that those dreams would be shattered after he was diagnosed with brain tumour in February 2010. He was forced to quit school shortly after because of the severe headaches and blurred vision he experienced.
He had travelled to the Sick Kids Hospital in Canada shortly after the diagnosis was made in 2010 and underwent surgery.Like a miracle though, Clinton persevered and is already on the road to fulfilling those dreams. With a strong desire to help others, he told this newspaper confidently: “I am currently in sixth form pursuing studies that would help in my field as a medical doctor.”
The tumour could not be removed completely but the doctors had drained some of the fluid from his head.
Consequently, he missed two terms in first form as well as the entire second form. He was nevertheless, promoted to third form where he sat the National Third Form exams and obtained three ‘As’ and one ‘B.’
Clinton was devastated though when he started to become blind in the left eye in fourth form but had persevered and focused on his goal.
His mother, Shaundell Ward, a teacher at Belladrum Secondary told this newspaper that she was “extremely happy and proud of his performance despite what he went through.”
She explained that “there was a time when he could not read and the teachers and students had to read to him and he would internalise.”
In April 2013 another MRI was done and the doctors found that “the tumour was gathering fluids and was squeezing the ventricle and causing blindness.” He also suffered from constant headaches.
She made contact with the Sick Kids Hospital again and the doctor there told her he needed to make direct contact with the neurosurgeon, Dr Crandon of Jamaica.
They waited four months but were unable to get on to Dr Crandon. In the meantime, Clinton’s sight became worse and he stared “bumping into the other students.”
His biggest fear was that he would go completely blind but that was before speaking to the chairman of the school’s Parent Teachers’ Association about his plight.
The chairman directed Clinton and his family to his brother who started him on an herbal treatment that helped to change his life.
He was overjoyed when his sight started to improve after a few courses which also required him adjusting his eating habits and becoming a vegetarian. The best part for him was that he no longer depended on anyone to read for him.
In the meantime, he continued to visit the eye clinic at the Georgetown Public Hospital where he was being monitored.
Dedicated to his well-being, Shaundell gave up her studies at the teachers’ college to “focus my attention on him.”
She told this reporter: “His achievement is very rewarding and fulfilling for me because of the sacrifices I made. I wish to thank persons at the school who helped Clinton through his difficulties.”
The quiet and well-spoken Clinton also expressed gratitude to God as well as to everyone who played a role in his recovery and success, especially Ganesh Singh from the Guyana Society for the Blind, who taught him to use the JAWS programme.
He also thanked his parents “for all they have done for me and for the encouragement and support” which he still looks forward to.