Remembering Gabriel, The Cancer Baby

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Michael Flomo, who was known in the media as Baby Gabriel, had Type Four Cancer by the time I met him in April 2014. By then, the cancer that had found its way to the child’s right eye had protruded to the size of a grape fruit.  He was suffering.

In as much unbearable pain due to constant hospital stays, maggots that had formed in his bandaged eye, his 16 year-old mother Hawa was in anguish.

Filled with overwhelming emotions, sadness, tears and sleepless nights, Hawa Flomo had no one to turn to but a friend she had met during one of his hospital stays. The young mother clung on to her only child and begged all those who would listen to help save his young life.

The Health Page CEO, Ms. Charlesetta Williams, who initially ran to the aid of the dying child and rushed him to Hope for Women hospital stated, “Little Gabriel suffered a kind of slow death that no child should have to suffer,” she said in one of our articles on Baby Gabriel titled“ Cancer-eye Child Dies”.

I watched with overwhelming sadness and a broken heart the day Baby Gabriel was taken to a room in the Hope hospital for bandage removal and cleaning. The child cried with every bit of energy that still remained in his cancer-ridden body.  His mother wailed.

“Aye God, why?” she wept.

That was the last day I saw baby Gabriel alive.

He begged his mother with the two or three words the one year old had learned in his short life,

“Mama, ain’t you see eh. Mama,” he screamed as the nurse tried to remove the maggots that had hidden in the tumor that once was his right eye.

I recall having to leave the room more than four times because of the stench and the fact that I couldn’t handle his cries that tore my heart to pieces. Baby Gabriel’s tumor reeked with the stench of a decomposed body and it caused everyone in the hospital, including the media who hung their cameras low to hide their tears, leave the room for air.

Watching baby Gabriel die so slowly was not something any mother, parent, human being should have to see. I kept touching his overly heated skin and saying silent prayers to God to have mercy on him.

Baby Gabriel passed away on May 2, 2014, days after his mother called to say she was unable to handle his slow death alone. She threatened to give up, whatever that meant. Two days later I called her to learn that Baby Gabriel passed peacefully in his sleep.

As I remember you today Baby Gabriel, Rest in Peace, sweet child.

To read more stories on baby Gabriel, you can click on these links. https://www.liberianobserver.com/health/cancer-eye-child-dies, https://www.liberianobserver.com/editorials/troubling-end-michael-flomo, https://www.liberianobserver.com/health/unwanted-journey

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