Friday 18 September, 2020

Jamaican former work permit holder in Cayman desperate for a kidney

Owen Powis

Owen Powis

Forty-four year old Owen Powis never knew that stomach issues and a pain in his foot, that began while he was working as a construction project manager in the Cayman islands, would change his life forever.

Powis, who is originally from Spanish Town in Jamaica, visited a doctor in Cayman over the issues and was subsequently sent to a specialist at the island's Health Services Authority.

It was at the Health Services Authority that Powis was diagnosed with renal failure, a condition that occurs when the kidneys are unable to filter waste products from the blood, causing a build up of dangerous levels of blood waste which can be fatal if left untreated.

Given the prohibitive cost of treatment in the Cayman Islands, Powis -  who lived in Cayman between 1998 and 2010 and then again from 2019 until borders closed in March this year - was referred to a specialist in Jamaica who inserted a catheter in his body.

Because he was unable to afford medical treatment in Cayman but needed to remain in the country in order to work, so that he could pay his medical bills in Jamaica, he found himself living between both islands while undergoing three-day a week dialysis in Jamaica.

"All of the money I have made now goes towards dialysis. I have been working to stay alive," he says.

The costly treatment which would have cost US$500 per visit if he were in the Cayman Islands is more manageable in Jamaica, but still costs US$250 per week. There is a free programme in Jamaica with a wait list, but Powis says he's so far back in the line that he has not yet even made it on the waitlist.

"You have to wait for someone to die in order to climb up the list," he explains dejectedly. 

In March, while Powis was in Jamaica receiving treatment for dialysis, Cayman's borders closed, depriving him of his main source of income.

"I still do some work online and my family is helping, but I need a lot of help," he explains.

Recently, Powis was lucky enough to find a matching kidney donor but he must still find US$25,000 for the transplant while continuing to pay for all of his treatment, tests, anti-rejection medication and three days of dialysis per week. 

"Emotionally this is stressful," he says. "Sometimes I just want to give up. I am not doing anything. I am not building anything. I am on the anti-rejection medication. I’d appreciate any help I can get to be able to have this life saving transplant," he says.

Once healthy, Powis would like to return to the Cayman Islands where he can continue to work and enjoy a quiet life.

"I love the peace of Cayman and the people," he says. "I love to fish."

For those who wish to support Owen Powis, a Go Fund Me account has been set up at https://www.gofundme.com/f/owen-powis-kidney-transplant/donate .

Those who would prefer to send a wire, can do so as per the following instructions:

JN Bank
Account holder: Owen Powis 
A/C 2094201959

For those wishing to send a US wire, the instructions are as follows:

Payment Bank: Wells Fargo, N.A., New York, USA
Swift code: PNBPUS3NNYC
ABA code: 026005092
Beneficiary Bank: First Caribbean International Bank (Jamaica) Ltd.
Swift code: FCIBJMKN
Account holder: Owen Powis
A/C 1000468694
Address: 23 Hillary ve, Kingston 10, Jamaica

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