Razia Khan, a Chaser, visits the cancer ward at KNH regularly and we wanted to find out why she does it. Her main reason she says, “is to help kids win the fight.” And in the post she highlights further what makes her so passionate about it and how we can also take part in this noble cause.
Cancer has emerged to be a leading cause of suffering and death to many Kenyans in the modern era. In the early 90s, everybody was worried about malaria. Great efforts were made towards dealing with that and while it’s still a major killer, we are moving in the right direction as a nation. Then came HIV/AIDS; we’ve seen a lot of resource channeled towards combating the virus from both local and international players and now people live long, productive lives with HIV. And now, we have CANCER.
I would not be far off the mark if I said we all know somebody who has suffered from cancer or who has lost somebody to this scourge that knows not the difference between rich and poor, old and young, male or female. I have had the sad opportunity to witness first hand the psychological, physical, financial and emotional drain that cancer has on families coping with a member who has the disease.
The Kenyatta National Hospital’s Children’s Cancer Ward is a heartbreaking demonstration of how far we still have to go in facing the reality that is cancer. Despite the ravaging effects that this disease is wreaking on the Kenyan people, it still remains one of the most underfunded and ignored areas of healthcare with children bearing the brunt of it all; treatment centers are limited in availability and limiting in terms of cost. A single session of chemotherapy can cost upwards of fifteen thousand shillings which is well out of reach of even middle class Kenya let alone your single parent peasant from Kitui, Msambweni, Kajiado or Siaya.
So what do many of these parents do? Some take their children home to die with their families, others simply abandon them to fate in health facilities where they remain untreated due to lack of resource and alone till the painful end. This is where we come in.
Nelson Mandela once said, “The time is always ripe to do right!” It doesn’t have to be pay day, it’s about showing that we care, as human beings and as a leader in Corporate Social Responsibility. It’s about putting life into their day’s not just days into their lives. The Children’s Cancer Ward gives us a chance to have impact. Through mobilizing resources and making time, we change the lives of these kids forever.
Our intervention would be structured as follows:
Let’s all help “Chase Cancer out of Kenya!”