Alan Lewin/Michael Nattoo
Last year, a family in Crowder district, Westmoreland, was thrust into the national spotlight after a mysterious phenomenon saw a mother and her three daughters all losing their sights. Despite the national attention, the family was still left to fend for itself in heartbreaking fashion, stumbling their way through their new realities, until last Thursday, July 25.
Dave Brown, who was born in that community but migrated to Canada while he was still young, caught wind of the situation and was moved with compassion. Through tears, Brown set out on a mission to lighten the burden for the bewildered family, and reached out to several of his church members and coworkers for help.
That collective effort amounted to last Thursday being one of the most memorable for the four women in a while, with a barrel of goodies – to include food items such as flour, cornmeal, cooking oil, cornflakes, Ensure drinks, among others – being delivered to their home by Brown.
Derrick Baker, father of the three daughters, had to bear the sole responsibility of caring for the entire family. And with no steady source of income, Baker was beyond relieved when Brown gifted the family some much-needed funds to help with their expenses. Despite the gifts, however, Brown’s visit revealed that there was much more to be done to assist the family.
“I am appealing to carpenters, plumbers, masons, handymen and any other person who is in a position to make this family’s life more comfortable,” Brown shared. He went on: “They need materials such as building blocks, boards, cement, sand, stone, steel, more food stuff, as well as furniture and a number of other things.”
Brown’s plea for those items came against the backdrop of realizing that despite the family living in a home together, their conditions, as well as the lack of resources, have contributed to the house being somewhat in a state of disrepair. “Whatever they can give to help this family will be greatly appreciated,” Brown added. “I took a walk inside their house and I can tell you that they really need the help.”
Amidst Brown’s pleas for additional assistance for the family, other visitors poured out well-needed items to the family, as curious community members watched the grand show of kindness.
Brown’s efforts were assisted by youth club community member, Knollis Johnson, among others.
“I want to thank you all for this kind deed. We need all the help we can get from all the world, because all four of us are blind,” shared Venicia Baker, one of the sisters who lost her sight two years ago – around the same time as her mother, Viris Lynch. The others – Vanessa Baker, who lost her sight 10 years ago, Shanell Baker, who lost hers four years ago, and the mother, along with two brothers who were there at the time of Brown’s visit, were just as grateful.
Venicia further shared that they are still in the process of seeking medical help. “We are trying to get help from any doctor who may be able to restore our sights. We went to Montego Bay to meet with a foreign doctor, who diagnosed us with glaucoma. Right now, we’re just going to have to wait,” she said.
For the two brothers, Derrick and Errol Jr., who were present, they made their case for having someone buy them a bike that they can use to assist the family. “If we get a bike, we can run bike taxi in the area so that we can assist with food and money on a weekly basis,” they shared.