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'I need immediate help': Canadian rapper John River shares intense medical battle on Twitter

By
Melody Lau

Published

January 22, 2018

Genre

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John River is pleading for help after experiencing what he says is a debilitating, unexplained series of medical emergencies.

Last Thursday night, the 23-year-old Canadian rapper (real name Matthew Derrick-Huie) took to Twitter to reveal to his 11,000 followers, "I'm sick and I need immediate help." In the first of many tweets, Derrick-Huie also specified that he was dictating these messages to his mother, who wrote them out on Twitter for him. (CBC Music has spoken to Derrick-Huie's management to confirm this.)

Derrick-Huie says that his struggles began with chest pain, for which doctors at two different local Mississauga hospitals repeatedly told him was the result of anxiety. But in his tweets, he details how his symptoms continued to worsen every time he was released from the hospital. Aside from anxiety, Derrick-Huie was diagnosed with a few different potential illnesses, including pericarditis and GBS (Guillain-Barré syndrome), "a disease that causes paralysis if untreated," as he was told.

To test for the latter, Derrick-Huie says he got a lumbar puncture. Soon, as he described in his tweets, he began having trouble with his vision and hearing. "I can't see, and now I'm having trouble hearing," he tweeted. "He [my doctor] tells me I'm just depressed and it's anxiety."

"I've fallen through the cracks of our health care system," he continued. "My family and friends have done everything they can, but they can't do any more." Derrick-Huie concluded by leaving his email address — letssavejohn@gmail.com — and pleading for help.

Since then, a number of fans and Canadian artists have responded online, sharing his story. Many are using the hashtag #LetsSaveMatthew.

Jessie Reyez tweeted Friday morning:

And allie sent her "thoughts and prayers."

Canadian basketball player Dillon Brooks asked his fans for help.

A more recent tweet was posted this morning by Derrick-Huie's father, thanking everyone for their support but noting "we just can't accept any money," instead asking for medical assistance and facilitation. A Go Fund Me page and a separate Twitter account called @letssavejohn were created, but the rapper's management team clarified that neither of those are "legitimate" and Derrick-Huie's father has requested that the Go Fund Me page be taken down.

Back on Dec. 26, a brief message was posted on John River's Facebook page by his management, saying that he was hospitalized and "is battling for his health and future."