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Mar 6, 2012

Family copes with child’s dangerous tumor

The following story will leave you and your loved ones with a heavy heart. It’s a touching situation that has affected a Mayan family that lives in the south.  Twelve year old Catarina Ishim is afflicted with an abnormal tumor that has her disfigured. It is preventing her from a normal childhood and the story has also touched the heart of News Five’s Andrea Polanco who travelled to San Pablo, Toledo to deliver this report.

Andrea Polanco, Reporting

Meet the Ishim Family; they are praying in Kekchi and huddled around this hammock, where twelve year old Caterina Ishim is reclined. With labored breathing and covered in sheets, she has a huge tumor that has grown from her nose and extended over her mouth, disfiguring her face and impeding her speech. But Caterina wasn’t always like this; she used to attend school and was a normal girl until a year and a half ago:

Juan Ishim, Grandfather

“On the nineteenth of October in 2010, the tumor started but we did not know that it was tumor. It started with a little sore on her nose. It stayed there small for a month and then from there it starts to get big. I take Catarina, my granddaughter, and I went to the doctor and he said Mister Ishim not right now, the appointment was full—come next week Friday. But in the meantime it was still growing. So a week after that, I went back again; the following Friday. so from there now I reach the Dangriga hospital, I get in there, I made an appointment and Doctor Patt had the time to see me. And now ih checked with me and said Mister Ishim it is a tumor and your daughter need to be operated—that’s what he told me.”

Juan Ishim

That small sore grew into this recurring tumor. In a span of less than two years and two surgeries later, Caterina is still fighting this abnormal growth.

Juan Ishim

“At eight o’clock now, the nurses came for her and goes to the surgery room and the nurse tell me to wait outside and at ten o’clock they told me Mister Ishim she’s okay now.”

Andrea Polanco

“At that time they had…”

Juan Ishim

“At that time, they had taken out everything from the nose. It was completely come out and I said praise the lord it come out good. But March again, it happened again.”

Andrea Polanco

“What happened?”

Juan Ishim

“The tumor came out again; it started growing again. It started small again. But it look like when they cut the tumor it look like it feel good when they cut it and it grows and grows and grows and grows big. So okay, we go to the CAT scan. So we go to the CAT scan and we pay four hundred and fifty at the CAT scan and they give us the result and the result; I never know what the results say because it was on the paper.”

Andrea Polanco

“What did the doctors tell you?”

Juan Ishim

“They say nothing happen from the bone or from her head; it’s only from the nose. So they took her to the surgery room now and they remove the tumor and everything was completely good again. And so I said praise the lord; I know god is hearing my prayer. She was back to normal; she is okay now. So it never did stay good when it was removed in Belize City. So it just continue to grow and grow and grow until it grow big again—up to the present day today.”

Andrea Polanco

“How are you feeling Catarina?”

Catarina Ishim

Catarina Ishim, Has Tumor


Andrea Polanco

“You really want to get rid of this tumor?”

Catarina Ishim


Andrea Polanco

“Are you in pain right now?”

Catarina Ishim


But this poor Mayan Family that resides in the almost isolated village of San Pablo in Toledo has tried everything and decided to move from their home in the center of the village. Since mid-January, they have settled inside this open thatch hut, in the middle of a cornfield on the outskirts of San Pablo. For over a month, they have been fasting, hoping for a miracle, as this little girl’s condition is full of complications:

Juan Ishim

“The complications is when she having on the breathing; it’s because of the tumor that grows big. When the tumor grows big it covers the right hole of the nose. It nearly covers the left one so it is there it getting the difficulty breathing. She couldn’t breathe through her nose—she breathes through her mouth. Why not we can go to God because God is so great? God will see what is our need and God will help us. So on the fourteenth of January 2012, we start the fasting. As we get up midnight, we just kneel down and pray, as we get up three o’clock dah morning, we just get up and pray.”

Andrea Polanco

“The entire tumor is hurting you?”

Catarina Ishim


Andrea Polanco

“You want to be able to walk again and go to school again?”

Catarina Ishim


But in the meantime, her condition remains severe. And the family believes, their darkest fear will come true if she doesn’t get the much needed surgery in time. But that is something that they simply can’t afford:

Juan Ishim

“We really want to get the surgery done, but because like you said, we cannot afford to go to the hospitals anymore. There is no money to go. The monies to do the first time and the second time; that was on our own expense—but the third time now, we cannot afford it.”

Andrea Polanco

“Okay and you think that if you don’t get that surgery on time, she might die?”

Juan Ishim

“She might die. Oh yes because we see the difficulty, we see the very, very bad part of what’s happening in the village with the little girl. Because it is the breathing—one of the nose was completely covered and the second was nearly covered. If that could have been covered, we could have not got her alive today.”

Elroy Foreman

Touched by this child’s plight and the family’s desperate attempts to keep her alive, Elroy Foreman of Delta Pride Limited is appealing to the public to help save this little girl’s life:

Elroy Foreman, Farm Manager, Delta Pride Limited

“We decided to open a, to even do a bigger fundraising to assist. So we went to Heritage Bank and opened an account on behalf of the family—the number I don’t have in mind right now. And then we started to send out some other letters to schools and church and so on. It is very important for everyone to assist. I don’t think no parent or parents would like to see their child in a situation like this and it is very urgent. The amount of money fundraised dictates the next step—whether we can get this tumor removed here in Belize or we can send her outside to get further medical attention. So again I ask everybody to please assist. Today is their dilemma, tomorrow anybody could be in the position.”

Catarina Ishim

“Thank you.”

Reporting for News Five, I’m Andrea Polanco.

If you would like to assist Caterina Ishim, you can make a deposit to Heritage Bank Account Number 1-2-1-1-8-1-8

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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34 Responses for “Family copes with child’s dangerous tumor”

  1. J.Ferguson says:

    Where can donations be made??? It doesn´t say. If someone knows, kindly post it up

  2. justice says:

    this is sad no hesitation to help this baby , mr prime minister think it like kim barrow.

  3. Jones says:

    We need more doctors and specialist in Belize.


  4. melasant says:

    What is their phone number?

  5. Retired CEO says:

    This is indeed a very sad story I urge all Belizeans who can afford it to contribute genorously to this very noble cause. We are one people, one for all and all for one. Belizeans give your last drop, cause every litle helps. You can count on me, I will be sending my check to Heritage Bank.

  6. sand says:

    need serious info on this poor child to contribute….. pls post info online asap tks

  7. Aaron Edwards says:

    Please e-mail me more information about Catarina Ishim and how I can donate money. I am a Belizian-American and want to help her. Thank You.

  8. Angela says:

    where can donations be made

  9. Dan says:

    how can i help?

  10. Dan says:

    how can i help? I don’t live in Belize.

  11. marvia herrera says:

    Please where can I send the donations.

  12. environmentalist says:

    future oil spills in PG will bring many more cancers to the residents of this area!!

  13. Are Ramirez says:

    Its very touching whats going on with this little girl.She need to get better and fast.noe the plite of this little girl family have been brought to us belizeans,this family is one of our own.Let us as belizrans help this family to get this little the medical help she needs.

  14. Marny Hohl says:

    Has anyone contacted the hospital in Chetumal to ask if they would treat this girl pro bono? Or if there were fees, how much would they be?

  15. bmp-resident says:

    Really sad situation….please post info on how to make contributions urgently.

  16. kelly jones says:

    Hi i live in the .us.and hurt by this story/ would like to makea donation.

  17. kelly jones says:

    Hi i live in the .us.and hurt by this story/ would like to makea donation.

  18. kelly jones says:

    Its so sad to here what this poor child is going threw/ we all need to come together and help this pressious child.

  19. Think Belizeans says:

    I found out that you can make contribution to Heritage bank #121-1818

  20. Elgin Martinez says:

    Let’s hope the UDP has something in their manefesto about Heathcare for the Belizean people.

  21. Andrea Polanco says:

    Hi All,
    Thank you so much for the support! I believe Caterina would like for me to say thanks for the outpouring of support . I got wind of this story through Ms. Sharlene Frampton from Independence, and I didn’t hesitate to do it. This child really needs your help. Donations can be made to Heritage Bank Account Number 1211818. If you have any queries and want further info on the story, you can contact Mr. Foreman at 670-8576. If you need any clarifications, you can reach me at 601-1174.

  22. mags says:

    Let’s all come together and help this child…prayers = miracles!!!

  23. Educator says:

    Let’s all come together to help this child… prayers + unity = MIRACLES!!!

  24. KING'S KID says:

    Is there someone or some group or organization who could spearhead a contact with either Mercy Ships or Doctors without Borders to see if they can help this poor child—or at least refer the family to an organization that can assist? These are both well-known for conducting humanitarian efforts worldwide.

  25. Coro gial says:

    Deposits can be made to Heritage Bank account #1211818 in Caterina Ishim’s name. My mom in the USA will be donating too so I have asked her to send money via Money Gram and I will deposit it at the Bank. Maybe if u have family u can do the same…it is great when our people still have compassion for each other…it is what God would have wanted.

  26. Gay smith says:

    I totally agree with everyone,i saw this and i cried as i’m a mother too i am making my donation all i need is some more information on how to do it i live in california and i am willing to help,@ think belizean thanks for the info,i also posted it on my Face Book page pleading for help for this innocent child.

  27. Marny says:

    Can someone please tell me if the diagnosis was McCune-Albright syndrome? If yes, this requires both surgery and post surgical treatment, which may not be available in Belize. Has an oncologist been consulted in Chetumal? If not, is someone willing to assist me in making this happen?

  28. mr.pook says:

    mr.pook of waukegan illinois

    would like for the parent’s to contact me. have close contact with a Dr. who is specialize in
    removing abnormal tumor’s. Dr. would like to have more medical record .Dr. say’s it look’s like
    a neurofibroma or maybe malignant tumor he also want’s to know if a biopsy has been done.

    mr.pook contact 773 664 5672 U.S.A

  29. Belizean- Bullet Tree says:

    Dear God, You are so powerful and almighty, please alleviate her pains and heal her.

  30. KING'S KID says:

    Wow, Mr. Pook. Thank you on behalf of the child and family. Would your contact be willing to provide the needed surgery/follow up? If so, then my people of Belize would, I assume, be able to assist with financing the trip for the child and parents???

    Belizean-Bullet tree, I agree with you in prayer, for where two or three are gathered together n His name, there He is; and if two or three shall agree as touching anything it shall be done.

    Father, hear the prayers of your faithful and heal, in Jesus’ name!

  31. touched. says:

    some one please let me know what can i bring her ?am comming for easter .i will be making a donation monday .yes GAY SMITH LETS DO SOMTHING .THIS ROSALIND BANNER .1323 817 8641PPL PLEASE CALL ME SO WE CAN HELP IN LOS ANGELES .

  32. survivour says:

    can mr, forman please clarify the bank info .if this bank is in belize .where is the phone number for the bank?so we can all make sure we are giving to this child .

  33. PG resident says:

    Belize has 3 ENT surgeons, one plastic surgeon, about 6 anestesia specialist about one dozen general surgeons, and a dozen pediatricians. i would like to see some one in Ministry of health be able to bring them all together to discuss this case and have the surgery done here in Belize if possible. that wil represent change and development for medicine in our country.

  34. Maria says:

    Someone with knowledge of the child medical conditions.
    Please send medical information. Such as, the doctor’s report, is the tumor cancer?
    This baby girl needs the right surgery. If Belize unable to do so then lets us all help by getting her the right surgery. but first we must have medical informations, cat-scan film, xray films, etc. No doctor will offer help without the full records. I know no one want to here certain questions asked but this is life these questions need honest answer so the child can receive the right help. Two surgery and yet it returns. records needed.

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