When Christine Schembri went for a route doctor’s check-up 21 years ago, little did she know that her life was about to go through a rough patch.
In that check-up the doctor had found her liver function tests to be very high, and this, at a time when she had no symptoms, “accept a little jaundice,” even though she had been experiencing problems with her liver for three years.
As years go by, so did the problems, and in October and November 2002, Christine was seriously ill following internal bleeding. In 2016, she was told to go to the UK for a thorough check-up, and here she was diagnosed with Budd-Chiari Syndrome.
Budd-Chiari syndrome is a condition in which the hepatic veins (veins that drain the liver) are blocked or narrowed by a clot (mass of blood cells). This blockage causes blood to back up into the liver, and as a result, the liver grows larger.
Following her diagnosis she was listed on the transplant list, and she was called to go to the UK again in 2018, to wait for the transplant.
‘The first problem that came through my mind was the money. We couldn’t afford the wait in the UK, because this time, we knew it was going to take long,” Christine told Bay.
Christine, her partner Lawrence and Father Mario Sant, one of the Maltese priests in the UK, who, with just a smile, or a word of advice makes any day feel better.
It is here that she had to turn to that Foundation for which she used to donate time and time again – The Malta Community Chest Fund.
Christine tells us that the is a regular follower of the various telethons, adding that she “used to do my part in them, but I never thought I am going to be one of those patients. The little that I used to donate was multiplied by thousands.
Christine told Bay that the Community Chest Fund was there for them from the very beginning till the end. They chose to stay with the nuns because their aim was that her partner stays with her only the very first weeks, and returns to the UK when they find a match for the transplant.
Christine, pictured above, stayed at the Franciscan Sisters, during her stay in London
This plan, however, had to change from her first medical appointment. The professional advice given to Christine was that her partner, Lawrence had to stay with her until the transplant would have taken place, and until she will be deemed fit to return to Malta.
‘The expenses were too high for us, we couldn’t afford it, but the Community Chest Fund made it really easy for us,” Christine told us.
Christine says that without the help of the Community Chest Fund she is sure that she couldn’t manage to be where she is today – it would have been impossible.
“Thanks to the Community Chest Fund, today I am a New Person, with a New Life,” she says.
Tomorrow the Malta Community Chest Fund is organising a 12-hour telethon to raise the much-needed funds it needs to continue helping people like Christine and many many others.
Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, large fundraising events such as Rockestra and the Fun Run cannot be held, but the requests for assistance never stopped, and in some cases they have also increased.
Christine’s appeal to all those reading is to do their part and donate.
“The Community Chest Fund is you! They cannot help patients like me without your donations. Thanks to you I had my life back, but without the donations this couldn’t have happened, so I encourage you to donate. Even a small donation makes a difference. Thank You for Saving My Life,” Christine concludes.