At 5 years old, Martissah Sinclair is a typical toddler who loves to play and dress up, but she is facing the biggest battle of her young life.
Martissah has leukaemia, and for the past few months she has been undergoing chemotherapy and extensive treatment to stave off deadly cancer cells from ravaging her frail body.
“She has become very strong, she is always up and going and trying to keep everyone up,” her mother, Lovine Wilson-Sinclair, told the Cayman Compass last week in an interview.
But little Martissah has not always been that way.
Last April everything changed for her and her family.
“Martissah had a fever on and off for one month and it would not leave her. We carried her to the emergency room and they gave her antibiotics and it was not working,” Wilson-Sinclair recalled.
She said one morning, back in April, they were at their Crewe Road, George Town home when around 5am, Martissah went to her dad, Mark, and said she wanted to go to the doctor.
When her father took her to the hospital, a nurse admitted her to paediatrics, where she was examined by Dr. Linden Swan. He ordered blood work on the child. “We got the results and they [Martissah and her father] were airlifted the next evening to Miami Baptist Hospital,” she said.
Martissah was diagnosed with leukaemia.
“No one ever had it in our family,” Wilson-Sinclair said, adding that she’d hoped the child simply had an infection “and when they went to Miami, they would say so.”
However, when the results were confirmed, Wilson-Sinclair said, her life changed.
“I could not sleep, I cried and cried and prayed for God to guard her. They [Martissah and her father] spent three months [in Miami] until she [came] back home,” she said.
Wilson-Sinclair said when she saw her daughter after her first round of treatment, the child was weak.
But, she said, “after three months, she was up and going. She was not really that sick.”
Her treatments are being done in Miami.
“When we go and spend the week with her, she is always energetic,” Wilson-Sinclair added.
Martissah, she said, is the baby and ‘lady’ of the family.
“She has a very demanding personality. She is very smart. She will let you know what she wants,” Wilson-Sinclair said, laughing.
She said she knows her daughter’s personality, and is confident she will be fine.
Over the next 15 months, little Martissah will have to undergo more life-saving treatments. For the Sinclairs, it will be a strain on their finances.
With months of treatment and overseas travel ahead, Wilson-Sinclair said, it will be tough as she also has two other children under her care, that “we have to make sure to have transport, food, accommodation”.
Last week, the Lions Club of Grand Cayman donated $5,000 to the family to help with Martissah’s treatment.
The club made the donation to mark International Childhood Cancer Day, which is celebrated on 15 Feb.
“Cost of cancer treatment is astronomical, and I am pleased that our club can lend support to the family of our young childhood thriver,” said Lions Club president Cordella Chollette.
Chollette, accompanied by fellow club members, visited Martissah and her family at their George Town home.
“I was very happy to be on hand to witness her still being a little girl, despite her challenges. We pray that a cure can be found soon,” Chollette said.
For Wilson-Sinclair, those moments are precious, and having a helping hand was welcomed.
“Words cannot explain how grateful we are for their [Lions Club] assistance. We appreciate it a lot. A girl child needs a lot of … personal stuff. It really helps us in a lot of ways. They are a blessing in disguise and I appreciate it a lot,” she said.
The mother of three said, since her daughter was diagnosed, she has seen the true face of Cayman generosity.
At present, the Sinclairs also receive assistance from the Cayman Islands Cancer Society, the Health Services Authority, and their insurance provider.
She said the staff at the HSA also held two cake sales to help raise money for Martissah.
“We really appreciate all the help we have been getting, and the Cancer Society for all their help,” she said.
To help the Sinclairs, contact Lovine Wilson-Sinclair at 326-8759.