“I’m thankful to be alive today” – former Guyanese boxing champ Clive Atwell continues fight for life outside ring
By Alexis Rodney
Guyanese boxing champ Clive Atwell, 27, could not have been more grateful to God for his life, since, had it not been for the quick and skilful hands of local neurosurgeon Dr Amarnauth Dukhi, he would not have been alive today.
The life of the National Featherweight and Lightweight title holder took a radical turn on the evening of October 24, 2015, when, during a match, he suddenly fainted.
He was rushed to hospital and found to have a subdural hematomas haemorrhaging, a condition that is the result of a serious head injury. Emergency surgery was performed by Dr Dukhi.
“I was placed on six months bed rest with medications. I was required to do another surgery in six months. That time has already passed,” Atwell said on Thursday, but he has not been able to garner the $5 million needed for the surgery in Trinidad and Tobago.
“I am still looking to raise some funds; Dr Dukhi indicated to me that the surgery cannot be done in Guyana, so I went to Trinidad.”
He related that since October last year, he and his wife returned from Trinidad and have been trying to secure the money through the Ministry of Sport and other government ministries.
“We were still to have a response, but it was until this story was picked up by a sports journalist that we started to see some positive light in this regard,” Atwell remarked.
He said after his story came to light, he was able to sit with the Permanent Secretary of the Health Ministry, where he re-presented his documents. Atwell said he was informed that a statement has been prepared to take to Cabinet. Government, he said is expected to provide at least $2 million.
Atwell noted that since his plight was made public, the country has “been gracious to me, they have been responding well”. His church family also came in for much praise as it made the first donation of $500,000. So far the boxer has about $700,000.
Life changing ordeal
“There is no way to butter it up, it has messed my life up”, Atwell said, speaking about the life-changing ordeal. He said however that as a believer he has been grappling with the fact that God is in the midst of everything and that “He is always working out the plan for one’s life”.
Atwell admitted that it has not been easy, as he and his wife had to give up all they had worked for to return to Guyana from Dominica, since his situation requires constant evaluation and Dominica does not have the facilities to accommodate him.
“I have had to come back to the next best place, which is home.” He said his mother-in-law has been assisting the young family, providing them with a place to stay while the prayers and emotional support have been overwhelming.
According to the father of one, the situation has been “horrible”.
“I left the hospital partially blind. I had to be rushed to the hospital the following night of my discharge. I couldn’t sleep no matter what they do, there was this severe thing going on in my head and they realised that blood was still lodged in some part of my head. My feet were numb, I could not do anything for myself, my gracious wife had to do all for me. Because God is so good, I have been able to take back some control,” he said.
Asked if he has any regret, given the fact that his profession might have been the cause of his condition, Atwell said he does not. He said the only regret he has is not refusing to take up opportunities that were afforded him.
“I was given beautiful opportunities… I believe that when God gives you something, you do it. I can’t regret that I have been boxing; it is something I have been blessed with. I have travelled the globe, to see life on a different side”. If I had taken up opportunities and things like this overcame me, I think I would have been in a better economic position to take care of things”.
Asked about his plans after his next successful surgery, Atwell said he has always been a fighter and lives for what he does. He said it is part of life that sometimes, “all good things must come to an end”, indicating that if that is the advice of his doctors, then, “I will just have to find the strength to accept that. “I’m a fighter and I would like to continue fighting.”
Atwell, a local minister in the Methodist Clergy, is father of a two-year-old son.
Persons wishing to make a contribution to the success of this surgery can do so by calling 642-9961, 672-9215 or have the funds placed into Atwell’s Republic Bank Account # 2429702.