My son Damion Deshawn Wilkins died while studying abroad in Peru, on July 15, 2014.
Damion, was only 19 years of age. He was a student at Old Dominion University. Dr. Rollins, Tropical Pathology and Infectious Disease Association, came to Old Dominion University for a lecture, inviting and selecting students to go to Peru. They spoke of “Humanitarian Service with a Human Experience”. It was to be a lifetime opportunity working with less fortunate tribes of Peru for eight days. The week long program would earn college credit and medical school preparation.
For Damion, it was exactly who he was – a caring person willing to give back and learn at the same time. My son was to spend a week in the class with Dr. Rollings learning and then return to blog about the experience. Somehow after the fifth day visiting with local tribes my son died walking through the forest. The report we received is that Damion, a healthy vibrant 19 year old boy who passed his physical died of a heart attack. An autopsy was performed we are told but we have no results.
Dr. Rollins wife is Vice President of the largest hospital in Peru. Her cousin is the Vice President of Peru itself. You would think Dr. Rollins and his family would have assisted us bringing Damion home.
Damion was a student leader, an honor student and a resident adviser. He was going into his junior senior year as a biology pre-med student with a double major in psychology. He was an extremely intelligent, compassionate and caring young man. Everyone loved him and admired his intellect. All of his professors loved and respected him. His friends admired him. Damion was the MVP of his scholastic bowl team as a junior and senior in high school. He was considered exceptional by everyone that knew him.
Damion with a bright future ahead of him reportedly died of a heart attack on the jungle floor. No emergency response was provided. Damion was transported up a river on a boat to a hospital. Damion described a hospital in Iquitos, Peru during a Skype chat with a friend saying, “The hospital is nothing like anything anyone would even let pass for a hospital in the United States, with rats carrying one type of virus and cats carrying another. A lot of the rooms have no windows and very few rooms have AC.”
No one investigated my son’s death. It is July 23, eight days later, Damion’s body is supposed to return July 24. I need to say good-bye.
Damion’s very proud mom.