Success Stories

Who is Herbie helping?

Terry Mahabir, Trinidad

Meet Our Hero: Terry Mahabir, Trinidad

Child’s condition: Bladder Exstrophy
Age: 15
Treated: January 2012 through the Herbie Fund

Fifteen-year-old Terry Mahabir is a shy, soft-spoken boy who has spent more time in the hospital than in school. But thanks to the Herbie Fund at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids), Terry can now focus on being a child, instead of a patient.

Terry Mahabir was born with bladder exstrophy, a condition where the bladder develops outside of the body. In Trinidad, Terry's home country, doctors did not detect anything abnormal until Terry was born.

"When Terry was born, the doctors would not let me see him," said Debra Mahabir, Terry's mother. "They told me something was wrong with him and that I should not see him."

After three days, doctors finally let Debra see her son. They told her about Terry's condition and that they were going to attempt a complicated surgery to move his bladder inside his body. There were two surgical attempts made over the next three months and both were unsuccessful. Frustrated, Debra began looking for alternative treatment options.

Frustrated, Debra began looking for alternatives and came across a surgeon in Jamaica who successfully performed the procedure. Although the surgery went well, Terry experienced complications from his bladder condition. Knowing there were no further treatment options available in Trinidad, Debra brought Terry to Cleveland, Ohio for more surgery, which failed.

"Eventually, a doctor back in Trinidad contacted us and told us about the Herbie Fund in Canada," said Debra. "There were no other options to treat Terry's complications in Trinidad, so we applied to the Herbie program."

A few days before Christmas 2011, the response came. "When the response came back that Terry was accepted to the Herbie Fund, it was the happiest I had been in a long time. It was the best gift a mother could receive."

Debra and Terry arrived in Toronto on January 15, 2012. Terry's first appointment was with Dr. Pippi Salle, SickKids Division Head of Urology, two days after his arrival in Toronto. A day later, on January 18, Terry underwent procedures for bladder augmentation and bladder reconstruction.

The results were exactly what Debra had been praying for.

"Our experience at SickKids was incredible. It was the best out of all the hospitals we visited."

Before his visit to SickKids, for 15 years, Terry had chronic pain and no bladder control.

"He is now in no pain, and he no longer gets bladder stones all the time. Terry is really happy, and that is what's most important."

After completing his procedures at SickKids, Terry was eager to return home to Trinidad.

"I can play sports now, I can play as a striker on my soccer team, and I can't wait to start playing cricket and basketball again," he said.

Terry and Debra returned to Trinidad on Saturday March 3, 2012 and were both excited to see their family and share the news about the great progress that Terry had made.