Black Immigrant Daily News
One of Barbados brightest young sparks on the football circuit has been tackled by arguably life’s most devasting and unpredictable “attackers”.
Former junior and senior national footballer Dishon “Eto” Howell is currently bedridden due to bone cancer.
The 21-year-old forward has been a household name from his early days at the Bay Primary School, where he displayed football skills beyond his years and often finished at the top of the goal scoring charts.
“The cancer is actually in his tail bone, and he can’t sit, he’s in so much pain constantly, because the lesion in his back ate away his tail bone”
Dishon’s outstanding qualities were consistent while at the St Leonard’s Boys School and Pro Shottas Football Club, and he made his senior international debut In October 2017, at the age of 16.
The Bayland resident’s introduction to the international arena was an exceptional one, as he came off the bench to score two goals and helped Barbados defeat Bermuda 3-2.
Dishon’s goal scoring abilities were recognised across the region and he was selected as the only Barbadian player among 12 selectees of the Digicel Kickstart Programme, which allowed the boys to train and play with the Manchester City Academy. He was also one of the team captains on this monumental tour.
Dishon “Eto’o” Howell (Back row, third from left) among the 12 players from around the Caribbean, selected from the Digicel Kickstart Programme, to train at the Manchester City Football Club
When domestic football resumed last September, like many others, Dishon was preparing to take the field, with his former St Leonard’s Boys School coach Fabian Massiah at the University of the West Indies (UWI) Blackbirds.
It was during this time that the first sign of his ailment occurred.
According to Howell’s mother, Natasha Howell, Dishon returned home from a training session and complained of some discomfort in his back. She mentioned to him that the discomfort maybe a result of the lengthy layoff due to the COVID-19 situation on island.
However, Dishon’s woes continued, and they were consistent.
“He started complaining even more, and we took him to so many different doctors, including at the hospital and polyclinic and we were back and forth and they just gave him pain medication.
The last time we took him to the hospital, they told us he had a pinch nerve. One doctor suggested for him to ice and just rest until January and then start back training and playing,” said Natasha.
Dishon ” Eto’o” Howell, celebrating one of his many goals for St Leonard’s Boys School with current senior men’s national team and European-based forward Thierry Gale
Dishon took the doctor’s advice and decided to relax in the United States, however, within three days of his arrival, he had to be rushed to the hospital with a sky-rocketing fever.
Three weeks of testing and assessments left Dishon tired and worried, but it also caught the medical team in a mystery, as they could not identify the issue with this young athlete.
Six biopsies and five months later, cancer was discovered in his bones.
“`He had six biopsies in total and they mentioned it was likely to be cancer, but they couldn’t find it, no matter what.
All the testing they did, they couldn’t find any cancer cells and his body was shutting down very quickly.
The cancer is actually in his tail bone, and he can’t sit, he’s in so much pain constantly, because the lesion in his back ate away his tail bone.
The chemotherapy that he’ll be getting, will actually help to build back the bone and strengthen it”, Natasha explained.
Natasha told Loop that the medication needed to treat and cure Dishon is not available in the region and it must be sourced internationally, which make it costlier than usual, averaging $100,000 BBD for the remaining four doses.
Dishon is currently one week behind on his treatment, and Natasha fears that if more time goes by, the cancer can become more aggressive, subsequently placing Dishon in further danger.
To date, Dishon is patiently playing the waiting game, while his mother is trying her best to make him as comfortable as can be, with the resources and help available.
Natasha expressed gratitude to those who have assisted thus far and to any others who can assist in restoring DIshon firstly to his feet and hopefully back to the football field.
“We are trying to acquire a medical bed, because a specialist from Carib Rehab came and checked him and she said he needs a medical bed.
Someone donated an airflow mattress, so he’s currently on that at that moment, but we still need the medical bed. The medical bed will be more comfortable, as it will be firmer”.
Along with any tangible resources that can be offered, Natasha encourage prayers to aid Dishon’s recovery.