Child who caught public's attention dies after surgery

Stabroek News
November 8, 2002

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Little Venola Sam whose plight attracted $3.4M in donations from the public died in Trinidad yesterday after undergoing an operation for lymphoblastic leukaemia.

The six-year-old child and her mother made a plea for help last month on the Voice of the People television programme on CNS Channel Six and Guyanese responded in huge numbers. But the child's relatives last night confirmed that Sam had died only days after the operation.

She had left the country at the end of October with her mother, Cottie and was suspected to have lymphoblastic leukaemia. Because the test to confirm the illness could not be done in Guyana she had to be taken to Trinidad for the test and if positive for treatment.

Relatives said the test, done at the Mount Hope Hospital confirmed the illness and the child was operated on last week. She had started the treatment but died early yesterday morning. Her relatives last night said they suspect that the illness was too far along and even though she was operated on it was too late.

When Sam left the country she was unable to walk and because she was in constant pain she had to be heavily medicated.

The child and her mother had visited CNS Channel Six where she told her story to the owner of the television station, Chandra Narine Sharma, who then decided to place her on his Voice of the People programme. It was after her mother appealed to the public for help that the money started pouring in. Venola lived with her parents and two siblings at 24 Section `C' Golden Grove. Relatives said that some of the money raised would be used to transport the child's body home on Sunday.

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