Baby Jo-Anna loses fight for life

Newborn Jo-Anna Gilzene, at the centre of fundraising efforts to pay for specialist treatment for premature babies in Miami, passed away Sunday morning.

The funeral will be held Wednesday, 31 August, at the All Nations United Pentecostal Church in Swamp Lane, George Town, according to Elaine Harris of the Jamaican consulate.

The viewing will start at 2pm, with the service following at 3pm.

Jo-Anna will then be buried at Prospect Cemetery.

‘I think she has touched so many lives. It’s almost like family passing; this is how I feel,’ Ms Harris said.

Fundraising to date has raised CI$11,114 plus US$1,180, according to Ms Harris.

‘I think her parents were encouraged by the response to Jo- Anna,’ she added.

Jo-Anna was born 29 July 2005, at 24 weeks and weighing only 1 lb. 7 oz.

Her parents, Jad and Carlisea Gilzene, still face a total bill of about CI$112,600 for the cost of care for Jo-Anna during her 30 days at the Cayman Islands Hospital, plus private doctor fees.

Her parents had made public appeals for funds to send Jo-Anna to Miami for specialist care that she urgently needed. The couple’s insurance only covered up to CI$25,000, but Mr. Gilzene was told that it would cost at least US$650,000 to care for Jo-Anna.

‘We were exploring all options available for Jo-Anna, either to help send her overseas or to have the necessary equipment and facilities donated here or to Jamaica,’ Ms Harris said.

She is hoping that the publicity surrounding Jo-Anna will have a positive effect.

‘At the end of the day, I hope something can be put in place to get the necessary facilities here to prevent other families from going through this,’ Ms Harris said.