Gary Byrd's Appeal: Please Help Me Save My Son Khamit's Eye Sight
Young Khamit in the middle has his father's golden smile
Note By Milton Allimadi: Imhotep Gary Byrd is one of the most important voices in American journalism. He's been a personal friend and a friend of The Black Star News since our founding. Byrd "speaks truth to power" and always explores major issues neglected by corporate media, including in the African American, continental Africa and Diaspora Africa --including Brazil-- communities. The name of one of his shows says it all -- "The Global Black Experience." The following is an appeal by a father for his beloved son. If your are in a position to reach out and help in any way, please do so.
My name is Imhotep Gary Byrd. Some of you may have "heard" of me. I host the longest running Black radio program in New York City and in New York State: "The Global Black Experience," (known by many as the "The GBE." My broadcasts are heard over WLIB-AM, WBLS-FM, and WBAI-FM. I am also a columnist for The NY Amsterdam News, one of the oldest Black newspapers in the United States. My column, "Imhotep's Guide to Black Events," appears weekly in the paper.
However, I am writing to you today on a personal matter involving my youngest son, Khamit Byrd. Khamit is the engineer of my weekly Sunday night WLIB broadcast: "Imhotep Gary Byrd's GBE Mind Flight." That is until recently, when he was forced to take a leave of absence from his duties with our show because of a condition called Diabetic Macular Edema (DME).
DME affects the eyes and the eyesight of thousands of diabetics across the country. You see, Khamit has been a juvenile diabetic/insulin dependent since he was 12. Recently over the course of last year, Khamit was given a drug called Avastin, which ironically, was given to him and other diabetics around the country to "help" them in dealing with this destructive complication of diabetes.
Khamit took the drug over a period of five months, given by eye injection, by his doctors at a highly regarded New York City Hospital and was alarmed to find that his eyesight was not improving but began to get worse. Khamit stopped using the drug after 5 injections (given monthly) and still noticed that there were continual problems developing with his eyesight.
In doing further research on Avastin, I discovered that it was a breast cancer drug (see attachment) which had NEVER been approved for usage in Diabetic Macular Edema (DME).Upon further research, I found that Avastin had caused various levels of damage to the eye and in some cases caused blindness as reported by The New York Times.
Class action lawsuits have been launched across the country, related to the issue and we are speaking with legal representatives now. But we have a more immediate need and this is where my letter to you comes in. Khamit has had a range of serious problems related to his eyesight since taking the shots. As I mentioned before, he was forced to take a leave of absence because of the loss of "visual acuity".
Khamit's high standard of professional excellence has suffered. Watching him go through this experience has been agonizing. But to see him in the prayer and meditation, which we both do daily, and to see him still smile has given me an even higher level of faith. My own relationship with the Most High is stronger, and so is my conviction that "with God all things are possible."
With his vision steadily deteriorating, and under the threat of frightening possibilities, we consulted with several well respected doctors. They suggested that Khamit's best opportunity for restoring his vision and perhaps preventing possible blindness is for him to receive Stem Cell Transplant Surgery. Stem Cell Transplants are being touted as the most promising possibility for diabetics in Khamit's position.
This stem cell surgery, still not available yet in the United States, is available in Mexico at several well respected medical centers, including Integra Medical Center. The center has well-respected physicians who specialize in the transplant surgery needed. However, it is an expensive process and hence my appeal.
We simply do not have the financial resources to provide Khamit with what may be the primary opportunity for him to restore his sight and to save his quality of life. A website has been set up with a medical fundraising organization for Khamit at www.yourcaring.com
I am personally requesting that any of you who "care" about the emergency that our family is facing, to donate whatever you can to our campaign in order to give Khamit a chance at beating blindness. Some of you are aware that JD Livingston, my producer of many years, was diagnosed with cancer just a year ago and his situation was dire.
We were able to use an integrative medicine approach and today, he is still fighting the disease, but he is fighting it "on his feet," and with a higher quality of life than most who have the same disease. JD resides with us at this time.
The late Hal Jackson, once said to me that "if you stick with the community, the community will stick with you" and I have found that to be true throughout my career. That's why I'm reaching out today with this appeal.
We need your support if my youngest son is going to survive this. If you have been touched by our work over the years, then please help us at this critical time. Like the song says "It's Gonna Take A Miracle." The entire family believes that a miracle is in our hands, but not without your financial donations.
Whatever you can give - be it $5, $10, $25, $100 or more - will be most appreciated and will help Khamit take this journey. It's a journey with many phases and we need to start it right away! One of the phases is centered around post treatment and is designed to insure the highest nutritional defense as well.
Learn more details and make your donation
Those of you who wish to send greetings or leave messages can do by calling 212-592-3279.There will be a instructions on how to show your support, in case you are less Internet-inclined :-)
Every prayer, every good vibe, and every donation matters. Please give what you can and remember that not donation is too small or too large. Time is of the essence.
Feel free to FORWARD. As I have said before, "Life is the ultimate trip once you learn to experience it and experience is the best teacher."
Thank you all, Asante. God bless everybody. May God and the ancestors be with us all! Imhotep Gary Byrd.