• His family appeals for help to finance his treatment

“Madam, pa gard fos lespwar. » At these words from certain doctors in Mauritius, her mother's heart rebelled. How could Lisebie Merite accept that her daughter, Sarah Lee, only had two years to live? Don't they say that as long as there is life, there is hope?

At just 25 years old, Sarah Lee Merite is diagnosed with terminal metastatic cancer. His fight against this insidious disease began several years ago. At the age of 19, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. This is the beginning of the nightmare for this family.

“Sarah Lee told me she had a lump in her breast,” says Lisebie Merite. Without wasting time, she takes her daughter to see a doctor. Sarah Lee undergoes a biopsy and other medical tests. The diagnosis falls: it is breast cancer.

But then another battle begins, faced with the disbelief of the medical profession. “Her case was rejected by a Mauritian doctor, because he said it was rare to have breast cancer at the age of 19,” recalls Lisebie Merite. The family must go to South Africa. “There, they confirmed that she was indeed suffering from breast cancer,” she emphasizes.

The treatments follow one another. The fight is long and difficult. Sarah Lee, who dreams of becoming a sports coach and beautician, does not give up despite the side effects. Finally a glimmer of hope when she finds herself in remission. The family then thinks that these dark days filled with doubts and uncertainty are behind them.

And yet… Three years later, Sarah Lee Merite relapsed. She is 22 years old. It’s a massacre for the Merite family. The aggressive cancer has spread to various parts of his body: his spine, his lungs, his liver, his breast… In December 2023, new symptoms reveal that the cancer has reached his brain, with metastases covering it. entirely.

The Merites are taking the blow in the face of the severity and this definitive diagnosis. The disease is incurable. “The doctors gave him a life expectancy of six months to two years” depending on the effectiveness of the treatment, whispers Lisebie Merite.

Sarah Lee's treatment includes chemotherapy to eradicate the cancer and immunotherapy, by mouth, to prevent its spread. In addition, she also has to undergo special treatment imported from South Africa, which costs around Rs 100,000 per month, every 28 days. “She also has to take anti-epileptic medications because of the brain cancer, not to mention anti-nausea medications, painkillers, blood tests…”

The treatment is expensive, very expensive, and the family struggles to raise the required funds (see box). But there is no question for Lisebie Merite of giving up, nor of accepting that her daughter will soon no longer be by her side. She intends to move heaven and earth so that Sarah Lee enjoys a good life. “As a mother, I don’t have the courage to give up. I will continue to fight until his last hours,” she says.

It's not easy every day. As a mother, she fights against this deep, sometimes debilitating feeling of helplessness in the face of her family's suffering. Incomprehension gnaws at her: why her daughter? “I have a lot of unanswered questions,” admits Lisebie Merite. It is even more difficult for him to see the consequences of the illness that is ravaging his daughter's body and the side effects that the treatment causes. “She was in a wheelchair last year… Fortunately, today she is walking again. ” (to see further)

These small victories are a source of hope for the family, who have rallied around Sarah Lee, providing her with love, comfort and unwavering support. This ordeal brought mother and daughter closer together. “And the whole family is united in the face of this obstacle course. They are present for all medical visits and we have put in place a certain organization so as not to disrupt family life too much,” smiles Lisebie Merite.

This support is all the more important as it is now impossible for him to look towards the future. “It is not possible to plan anything in advance…” Despite everything, in her mother's heart burns intensely the flame of hope. “When people ask me the question of how I’ve been doing for two years, knowing that she will no longer be there in my life, I don’t think about it,” confides Lisebie Merite. “I'm doing what any mother in the world would do. What I do for my daughter, only a mother would do. »

A model of strength

She is not unknown to Internet users on social networks. TikTokers, in particular. Sarah Lee Merite delivers her fight against illness without artifice on the Bellator (Fighter) page to her 40,000 subscribers, inspiring them with her courage and resilience. Despite the doctors' prognosis, the 25-year-old remains determined to fight and enjoy life to the fullest.

Having run her own beautician business since the age of 19, Sarah Lee Merite also graduated in sports from the University of Mauritius. If every day is a perpetual struggle, it is also filled with small personal victories. Victories for which she says she is grateful.
“Today I feel much better than last year, when I was paralyzed in my left foot. Today, I can walk and run. I am happy and grateful,” she confides.

This improvement happened recently, without her even realizing it. “That day, someone came to pick me up from home, I shouldn’t have been late. But when I got into the car, I realized that I had forgotten something important. I ran the 60 meter round trip from the house to the car,” says Sarah Lee.

At first, she doesn't even notice it. Until his mother Lisebie shouted to him: “Hey, you run!” You run again! » Considerable progress and, above all, a new source of hope for the young woman, who had not run since her paralysis due to the generalized cancer from which she suffers.
If she takes life one day at a time, Sarah Lee takes nothing for granted. “I continue to follow my passions: dancing and sports cars. » The illness did not dampen his ambition. “I even want to start taking courses again to expand my little business,” she reveals.

Where does she get the strength and motivation to move forward every day? To this question, Sarah Lee Merite simply answers: “God. »

Call for the generosity of Mauritians

Sarah Lee Merite treatments are expensive. And the family is struggling to raise the required amount. She made a request for a public inquiry to the police. The authorization is valid from May 2 to August 1, 2024.

It is Sarah Lee herself who travels the island despite the advanced stage of her illness. His mother Lisebie, unwavering support, is at his side, trying to raise the funds necessary for his treatment. To generous souls, this mother says this: “You are buying or paying for a few more months to allow my daughter, Sarah Lee, to live her dreams. »

Lisebie Merite would also like to thank all those who have made donations since she launched her appeal for help: “A big thank you to the entire Mauritian nation as a whole, all the communities without exception who are helping us help. This is really very comforting. »

Those who wish to financially support Sarah Lee Merite in her fight can do so through the Juice application on the following account number: 000448001624, or the following telephone number: 5918 2094.

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