-Photos by Paul Williams
DISCOVERY BAY, St Ann:
ON THE verge of death Yvonne Kirlew was, nearly a decade ago. The chemotherapy to destroy her lymphatic cancer was apparently killing her too.
But her husband, Raymond, was determined that she wasn't going to leave him. He nursed her through a dreadful time of pain and near-death moments, and the cancer went into remission.
But, alas, it came back. And Raymond's war on the cancer started all over again, and this time around he went to nature for help. He acted upon the information that the leaves, stem and bark of the soursop tree, found all over Jamaica, were more powerful and less debilitating than chemotherapy. Daily, he has been feeding Yvonne the drink extracted from the leaves and the bark of the soursop tree, and Yvonne has been cancer-free since January 2010.
Yvonne and Raymond Kirlew's story is well documented by this newspaper. The reaction to the articles was overwhelming. Readers from all over the world called or emailed seeking further information and to get in touch with the Kirlews. The last article was published in The Gleaner on Saturday, August 20, last year, but the fascination with their story cannot seem to die.
But the information on the healing properties of the soursop tree has long been in the public domain. It was sent to south Florida radio host, the Reverend Dr Dennis G. Grant, about five years ago, and he posted it on his home office wall. Dr Grant is the host of a very popular two-hour Saturday show called 'The Love Hour' on WAVS 1170.
In April, the native of St Mary, Jamaica, who has about 35 fruit trees in his yard in Florida, also began to boil the leaves from his own tree. "I started to take it (the drink) myself, figured it was working. My high blood pressure, my cholesterol are now normal without medication," he told The Gleaner.
Then someone sent him the August 20 article.
"And when I looked at the article I saw your name - and that's when I picked up the phone and called you," he told this writer, whom he had met earlier this year at an event called 'Kingston Pon Di River', "and I started to do my own research, my own investigation, and I told my radio listeners about it."
Subsequently, Dr Grant began bottling the drink extracted from his own leaves.
"On a Saturday, after my radio programme or during my radio programme, we don't have hands to get rid of it," he said, "and now we are getting testimonies: My insurance agent, diagnosed with gall bladder problems and prostate cancer, he's now totally, totally healed by drinking the soursop.
So it has been working miracles. We have numerous, numerous testimonies."
Yet, there are sceptics. "A lot of people have read your article. I have emailed it to thousands of people. A lot of them don't believe that this is really factual. As a radio host, I wanted to come and meet the Kirlews myself," Dr Grant said.
- So, to remove some of the doubts, Dr Grant flew in from Florida last weekend to visit the Kirlews at their home at Dairy, Discovery Bay, St Ann.
But unbeknown to Dr Grant, the big soursop tree that seems to be sustaining Yvonne and keeping the Kirlews happy was blown over by Hurricane Sandy. Some of the roots are still firmly embedded in the ground, and the leaves are still fresh and green. It will be propped up soon by Raymond. Just as it was with Yvonne, death is not an option.
After a warm reception by the Kirlews, they gave Dr Grant a synopsis of their story, and some of the soursop portion from the fridge, which they drank on the spot. Then, it was time for Raymond, always the enthusiastic storyteller, to give anecdotes of people whose cancer was cured by the soursop tree, and those who chose chemotherapy over the soursop, and had since made the transition.
At 10 o' clock, via telephone, Raymond and Yvonne were interviewed live on Dr Grant's radio show.
With the fallen soursop tree as the backdrop, Yvonne, Raymond and Dr Grant spoke for about 10 minutes.
At one stage, a smiling Yvonne Kirlew exclaimed, "I feel great!" to which Dr Grant replied, "And you're looking wonderful! If they could just see how wonderful and healthy you look."
After the live interview, Dr Grant told The Gleaner,
"I can go back and now say, I have met them, I have seen them.
They have told me how it's done, what it has done.
They have the medical records right there in the home.
I am a believer.
I now believe even more that this soursop cured Mrs Kirlew, and it is a miracle drug.
If my visit saved one life - this visit from Florida to Discovery Bay, Jamaica - just one life, it would have been worth it."