Woman living with painful disease seeks to study medicine
An incurable disease has caused her a great deal of pain for years, but instead of using it as an excuse to flunk her studies at school, a determined Danae Pryce says that her ill health is now her greatest source of motivation as she pursues a career in medicine.
The 21-year-old, who resides in the volatile Denham Town community of west Kingston, said she wants to become a world-renowned gastroenterologist. Her desire to do that started in 2017 after she was diagnosed with Crohn's disease, a chronic illness that has viciously attacked her intestines while turning her world upside down. The cause of Crohn's is still unknown, and while there is currently no cure, symptoms can be managed with treatment and if necessary, surgery. Pryce shared that at its devastating worst, the illness breaks her down emotionally and psychologically.
"Sometimes when I have school, you see the alarm going off at 5 in the mornings and I haven't closed my eyes as yet because I spent an entire night on the ground folded up in pain," she said.
"I had to repeat grades eight and 11 because I missed months of school due to my illness. There were times when I couldn't really eat because when I did, I would vomit a lot and that led to a lot of weight loss," she said, when explaining why she is still registered in high school at 21.
Despite this, she scored seven passing grades in the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate examinations. She was also successful in the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination after scoring passing grades in two of the three subjects she attempted. Pryce said that she was a typical child and used to participate in every sports day.
"But all of that changed since I got sick. It started out with the usual tummy ache and that went on for months. It got worse with every day that passed and we weren't quite sure as to what was the issue, so we kept going to the doctor. At first they said it was UTI [urinary tract infection], then they suspected appendicitis. So I had my appendix removed, but the issue came back. We did some more tests and after a year they found out that it was Crohn's disease," she said.
She has, however, taken a giant step towards her goal of studying medicine following a series of health-related setbacks. She has been accepted to pursue a bachelor's degree in medicine at the University of Medical Sciences of Havana, Cuba.
But with a February 6 deadline to pay a $635,000 processing fee, Pryce, who is currently in sixth form at Merl Grove High School in St Andrew, is now worried. She believes the "lifetime opportunity" would change her life, so she has decided to boldly ask the public for help.
"By the Grace of God I am going to get this help so that I can help other persons who are suffering like me, because I wasn't aware of this condition until I was diagnosed with it in 2017," Pryce told THE WEEKEND STAR. The money, she said, would cover the necessary processing requirements, which include a proficiency exam and two separate 20-week courses in Spanish and pre-medical.
Pryce said she has so far managed to raise a little over $100,000 in her quest to start the course, which will last for seven years. If given the opportunity, the devoted Christian said she would be very grateful.
"I am the type of person who, once I set my mind to something, I will do everything within my power to achieve it. My mother reached out to a relative who agreed to help and sent a $100,000. Since then, I have been selling cookies and donuts at my church in order to raise as much as I can. It would really make a difference to get the help from the public as I am truly spurred on by my situation," she said.
Persons wishing to help Danae Pryce may contact her at (876) 919 1179.