Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Let's Help Save MJ

Here's the harsh truth: My fiancee could die.

Here's the silver lining: He doesn't have to.

Here's the simple solution: Five minutes of your time.

Since he was eleven, MJ has suffered from Mitral and Aortic Stenosis - a heart disease that causes his valves to leak. In 2006 he came to the UK in order to have life-saving surgery that is not available in his hometown of The Gambia. It is now 2014, and having not been able to have the surgery due to lack of funding, we have now been advised to raise it ourselves. The cost of the surgery is going to be a huge £30,000 - far too much for a young, working class couple such as ourselves to afford.

MJ has been advised by his consultant that if he doesn't have his treatment within five years, he will die; however, there is now an added threat from the UK Home Office that he is also in danger of being sent home - to the very place he fled from to avoid certain death.

We need YOUR help to afford the treatment and consequently keep MJ alive. If you are unable to donate, then simply sharing this page can do a world of good. MJ is just twenty five years old with a disease that predominantly affects the elderly, and so with the necessary treatment, doctors are certain he will easily make a full recovery, but without it, he will only get worse. Together, let's stop that from happening. Let's help MJ live.

I’ve had quite a few reasons to quit Facebook and proceed with life out of touch from basically the world recently, but I’ve kept it alive purely to stay connected. Now, obviously I’m not BFFs with everybody on there, but that doesn’t fuss me because what I write and share wouldn’t reach many people at all if I expected to know and speak personally with every single one of them, and I want it to reach people. That’s the truth, and I expect a lot of others probably feel the same.

However, I recently posted an important article about my fiancee’s heart condition, how the only way for him to stay alive was for us to somehow come up with more than £25,000. I hoped, at least, that all of my friends would share that one particular post, because I thought that while we indeed weren’t all best friends and didn’t talk every single day or maybe even ever, the simple matter of caring for life was something we all had in common.

Out of almost 350 of my friends, I’d say that around twenty people shared it. It did end up making quite a stretch, because some of their friends subsequently shared it too, for which I’ll be eternally grateful; I got a few messages from complete strangers who had a couple of mutual friends saying how sorry they were about our situation, and a few of them even donated to my fundraising page. But I’m not going to lie. I’m disappointed – hurt, even – that more than 300 of them completely ignored my message.

Well… that’s unreasonable. Maybe they never go on Facebook, or have stuff going on themselves – we’re all human, after all – and so in that case I have to put up my hands and apologise. But sometimes it’s hard to be totally reasonable, especially when your fiancee’s heart is a ticking time bomb.

A line about MJ. We’ve been together for almost seven years. For the entire seven years, we’ve had this issue – in fact, he’s been struggling with it since he was eleven, and he’s now twenty five. We didn’t know until a few months ago that we were going to have to come up with the money ourselves, because we thought the NHS was going to help us out. Problem is, MJ is a Gambian national. It may seem fair enough that because of this, he has to pay for surgery that is completely unavailable in his home country, but I wonder if it would open your mind some to know that he came here in 2006 specifically to have his heart fixed, and they didn’t fix it.

They didn’t do it because the funding that was supposed to be available for MJ from Gambia was voided for some unknown reason after he was already in this country. In Gambia, he was having heart attacks. In Gambia, he was diagnosed with Mitral and Aortic Stenosis – a disease that causes his valves to leak – and he was subsequently told that he needed surgery they couldn’t give to him, otherwise he was going to die. So multiple times, MJ has been to the hospital here under the impression they would operate because that’s what he’s been told, but every time it hasn’t happened. It was only explained to us in 2009 – three years later – exactly why it wasn’t being done: because he didn’t have the money.

As a young, teenage couple, with MJ having no family around to help explain it, we thought the operation would be done and the money dealt with later. Not the case. So in 2010 we had to apply for a visa that would allow him free treatment, because I think we can all agree that £25,000 is a ridiculous amount of money to just whip out of your pocket. The Home Office then took two years – I repeat, two years – to merely refuse. When they did, we appealed. Again, they refused. Since then, it’s been a back and forth between us and them, with us saying that he needs this surgery within five years otherwise he will die, and them saying that it isn’t their problem. Now, because of the amount of time that has passed with MJ not being on the right visa, they want to send him home. That can’t happen. Why? Because MJ will die in Gambia. Still, their answer is no, and yet they want MJ to leave on a voluntary basis. But tell me: would YOU willingly walk to your own death?
So before they get really pushy, we need to try and raise this money. We’re on a time limit – two, in fact: MJ’s heart’s time limit, and that of the Home Office.

Social media connects the world. We share hilarious memes and cute cat videos, and yet just twenty of my friends clicked on a link not too long ago entitled: ‘Can you help mend my fiancee’s poorly heart?’ I think to ignore such a thing is to indirectly say that as far as one is concerned, MJ can die. It seems extreme, but does it really say anything else?

I don’t like to think that anybody I’m associated with could be capable of such a thought, which is why I’m asking you to at least share this post. Just share it. It happens with the click of a button, and you – one person – have just opened it up to hundreds, maybe even thousands more. I’m not religious. My faith lies in us. I believe that we’re in control of what happens to each other, and I believe that because of that we have a huge responsibility to help each other in any way we can. So I’ll continue to post my hilarious memes and cute cat videos for everybody’s entertainment, but remember this is the one I care about, and this is the one that matters. This is the one that’s about life and death, but hopefully, life.

I don’t want likes for this post. I want shares. I need shares. MJ needs shares. I’m British, and if I had the same condition as he, it would have been treated back when I was eleven. MJ has suffered for fourteen years because he comes from Gambia, so let’s not let him suffer any longer.
One more thing: By posting this, I don’t want to open up a dialogue anything political; I’m merely explaining the facts. All I want to do is make sure my fiancee stays alive. He’s young. He’s otherwise healthy. He’s human. You can help him stay that way just by sharing. That’s all I ask.
If you do want to donate in any scale, here’s our fundraising page.

Thank you, and again, if you like this post, please don’t let me know by pressing the ‘like’ button - let me know by sharing it.
Tweet me @karisgould if you have questions – I’m happy to chat - See more at:

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