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Aug 31, 1999

Hemophiliac boys attend summer camp in US

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With limited medical care available it is difficult for anyone with a serious illness or condition to live in Belize, but if you have hemophilia, a disorder in which the factors needed for blood to clot are missing, it is even harder to cope in Belize. But despite the high cost of the factor, and the fact that even the most common injuries could be life-threatening for hemophiliacs, two Belizean boys are determined to live normal, happy lives.

The last time we saw Ritchie Bardalez, the nine-year-old hemophiliac of Toledo, this bright and energetic young man had just learnt how to infuse himself and his family was asking for help getting the factor he needs to stay alive. Although the donations have not been forthcoming, the Bardalez family has been coping. Ritchie is living his life as normally as possible. In fact, he recently returned from a summer camp in Orlando, Florida for children suffering from chronic illnesses. He says he felt comfortable and most importantly of all was able to have fun because he did not have to explain his condition to the other children.

Ritchie Bardalez, Hemophiliac Patient

“There were all sorts of activities like boating and fishing, swimming and they had a place called the creative zones where you can make T-shirts. There is a library; I can go and borrow books.”

Francisca Bardalez, Mother

“The purpose of the camp is for these boys to leave home so they can be with other children and enjoy being normal, like normal people even though they have a chronic illness. They can go out there and have fun just like normal people.”

Since we last aired the Bardalez story, we were told of another child with hemophilia in Belize. Sixteen-year-old Alex Romero’s condition became apparent when he was a toddler. Romero also had the opportunity to go to camp. Romero says because of his illness he is unable to play the sports he loves best.

Alex Romero, Hemophiliac Patient

“Because you can’t do what you feel like to do.”

Q: “Like what can’t you do?”

Alex Romero

“Like rough stuff.”

Q: “Rough stuff like what?”

Alex Romero

“Like playing basketball, football.”

Gilda Supal, Mother

“Well right now he is suffering from the knee joints and he has an elbow problem. He can’t be like the other children who would go out and play freely because if something would happen to him then we don’t have the factor on hand.”

The Supal and Bardalez families continue to appeal for public support. They also invite families whose children have hemophilia to contact them at telephone numbers 07-22090, 07-22932 or in Belize City at telephone number 02-71238.

Since Channel Five aired the first story on hemophilia last January, a number of people have begun organizing a Belize Hemophilia Society. If you would like to assist kindly get in touch with Francisca Bardalez.

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