[Stop Press: We've increased the goal to £2000. Suzi's courage deserves ongoing support so she can continue her fight back.]
Joel writes, "Tia Azucena (Auntie Suzi) has been a second mum to me, caring for me, my sister Rebeca and brother Isaac as well as her own three children while mum and dad were out working. It’s a terrible shock to all of us that someone so loving should be suddenly struck down. She has bone cancer in her leg, although she's only 52. The prognosis is not good.Like my mum, Auntie was brought up under the worst days of the Somoza dictatorship here in NIcaragua, helping hide their brothers from his palace guards, torturing and murdering young men at will. On top of that their whole family often had to hide from Somoza’s planes, bombing and strafing their neighbourhood indiscriminately. The two girls eventually had to give up their education to help support the family after the death of their parents. Auntie Suzi eventually married Alfredo Castillo, with whom she had three children, Alan, Roxana and Winston.
Tragically, Alfredo was killed horribly while the children were still small. He was crushed to death when the driver of his delivery truck lost control, jumped out himself, and left Alfredo to plunge some sixty feet into an abyss. His body was completely shattered, brought home in the back of a pick-up, practically unrecognisable.
Since then, Auntie has taken in washing and has a tiny, tiny, store to try to keep herself and Cristina Fabiana going. Fabi is a grandchild she's raising because her own mum can't cope. They eat with us to help make ends meet.
And now cancer. She’s receiving chemotherapy, which makes her really sick. Plus she's in constant pain. The government provides the chemotherapy free, but its restricted budget can’t pay for the daily injections necessary to help with the pain. They work out at about £190/US$260 per month.
Her grown children and the rest of the family, especially my own mum and dad, do what they can to help, of course, but work is hard to find and even between us we simply can't manage so large a sum every month.
Would you be able to help too, please? Nobody deserves to suffer so, least of all such a lovely person. Sadly, the prognosis is not good, but the doctors say if we can control the pain, hopefully the treatment will reduce the cancer. Otherwise she may well lose her leg to try to prevent it spreading. Or, at the worst, her life.
Please support her as you can. We'd all be so grateful. With your help added to ours, Tia Suzi will have a fighting chance. She deserves it so. Thank you from us all, "
Joel Baker Hernandez (19, studying medicine at UNAN, the National University of Nicaragua).
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