Tue | Jun 15, 2021

19-y-o KC alum seeks help to beat medical condition

Published:Thursday | March 18, 2021 | 12:23 AMJonielle Daley/Staff Reporter
Jevaun Taylor.
Jevaun Taylor and his mom, Clareta Taylor.
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For the second time, 19-year-old Jevaun Taylor’s life has been significantly altered by a medical diagnosis after parts of his skin and eyes started to turn yellow.

It was approximately one week after the burial of his father, Raphael Taylor, who passed away from multiple sclerosis, in February of last year that Taylor had to be rushed to the doctor.

“The colour of his urine changed drastically, it started looking like Coca-Cola,” said Jevaun’s sister, Cavelle Taylor.

After completing the recommended MRI, Jevaun was diagnosed with rapidly progressing primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC), which prevented him from completing upper sixth form at Kingston College.

PSC is a disease of the liver and gall bladder that affects the liver’s ability to release bile to aid in the digestive process with the breaking down of nutrients.

The sports enthusiast made it through primary school and Kingston College despite being diagnosed with ulcerative colitis at the age of 10. The diagnosis came after two years of frequent trips to the bathroom as the disease causes ulcers and inflammation in the digestive tract, which made it difficult for Jevaun to control his bowel movements.

“He loves cricket very much, but because of his illness, he wasn’t able to participate in any extracurricular activities,” said his mother, Clereta Taylor, who also mentioned that Jevaun also loves football and wishes to build a sports complex in honour of his father, who also loved cricket.

TERRIBLE ITCHING

After years of taking his medication, Jevaun was able to live more comfortably, only having flare-ups in stressful situations. However, his reality became bleaker with the rapidly progressing symptoms of PSC.

“My skin itches so bad, and there is not much that doctors can do about this. There are several nights where I don’t sleep because I have to keep on scratching my skin and this makes me extra tired,” he said in a WhatsApp message, explaining that the disease makes him extremely fatigued.

His 61-year-old mother told The Gleaner that Jevaun loves to read, and when they are not laughing their way through sleepless nights, he reads a lot about PCS and liaises with others who had the disease.

It is from this quest for knowledge that she is left worried as Jevaun always says, “I don’t want to be in Jamaica when my belly starts to swell because at that time it means my liver is failing.”

However, the family is still trying to find the money needed for him to fly to the United States for a liver transplant.

INSECURE ABOUT APPEARANCE

Jevaun, who is currently admitted at the University Hospital of West Indies, is living through his fear as his belly and legs are swollen.

“I am wondering how he is taking it and what he is thinking now, and that’s why I always try to encourage him not to give up,” said his mom, who explained that her “baby” is not expressing much to her as they communicate via text message because of tubes inserted down his throat.

“The symptoms of PSC made some changes to my physical appearance. These include weight loss, darkening of my skin, hair loss. My eyes became very yellow, which makes me insecure about my appearance,” he said.

“Living with both illnesses makes me very depressed at times because I’m not able to do some of the things I want to do,” he said.

Cavelle, who resides in Canada, lost her job because of the pandemic. She said it has been difficult to solicit funds as corporate companies have also been affected financially by the pandemic and fundraising activities are prohibited. As such, she has started a GoFundMe account for Taylor with a goal of CDN$400,000 in donations to cover the cost of the transplantation at the Emory Transplant Centre in Atlanta, Georgia.

“I wish I can take away his pain. I wish I could do everything to help him. We are worried, but at the same time, we are hoping that a miracle will come through for us. He has not really lived any life,” said Cavelle, who shared that her brother is a hard worker who wants to attend the University of Technology to study entrepreneurship.

The family remains hopeful in prayer and pleads for assistance as he will require further treatment after the transplantation.

jonielle.daley@gleanerjm.com

How you can help

To assist in Jevan’s recovery, contribute to https://gofund.me/b3d7822c