Nairobi, April 30, 2013. Cancer is a very expensive disease to treat particularly if you live Africa. Surgery, drugs, consultations, radiation, chemotherapy, scans, tests, etc, are extremely costly to get in Kenya and beyond reach of not just the mwananchi, but also of the middle class Kenyan. I am testament to that.
Since my cancer treatment began 4 months ago, I have spent millions of Kenya shillings and I still have another 8 months or so of treatment left. I estimate my entire course of treatment will cost me about Kshs 6 million! My medical insurance will only cover a fraction of that due to the nature of my policy with them. As with most insurance companies, cancer is treated as a chronic illness hence the coverage limits are very low.
Here is a snap shot of what some of my ongoing medical bills look like:
- Blood tests – to measure my White Blood Counts, Haemoglobin, Renal and Liver function – Kshs 5,000-9,000 every 7 days.
- Chemotherapy session and post chemo medication- every 2 weeks, as a day patient , between Kshs 50,000 -70,000
- Chemotherapy drugs for 8 cycles – Kshs 425,000 (much cheaper because I purchased them from India)
- Herceptin Drug therapy session – every 3 weeks, as a day patient – between Kshs 30,000-40,000
- Herceptin drug – 12 doses (every 3 weeks), with each dose at Kshs 279,000.
This is the “normal” budget and can change if I have complications, or infections. For example, in January this year, I got a bone infection in my mouth that required emergency surgery and hospitalization that cost me Kshs 218,811 for a 3 day admission.
In March, I made a decision to reach out to my friends, family and the public, to support me in raising funds to meet the cost of my treatment. My financial appeal is Kshs 2.6million to help me cover the medical costs that i cannot cover between my insurance, my savings and my families contributions.
The decision to make a public financial appeal was not an easy one. NOT because I don’t need the help, but because I was worried about the perception out there. You see, I am NOT classified as the common mwananchi. In fact, some good people I know call me a “Barbie” from the leafy suburbs! I am a middle-class Kenyan, with a respectable job, and I have a medical insurance cover. So I am sure many have asked, why can’t I afford to finance my own treatment?
To be honest, I just don’t have Kshs 6 million sitting in my bank account, nor do I have assets to that value that I can sell. You may ask, what about my family? I am a single mother supporting two children on my own, something that i never have complained about and comfortably did.My parents are in active retirement and infact, and as is typical of most African cultures, they receive financial support their children. Despite that, my family, parents, siblings, uncles, and aunts they have all dug deep into their pockets and supported me financially as best as they can. Hence, my financial appeal is not for Kshs 6 million, but for the balance that my family and I were unable to meet ie Kshs 2.6 million.
I was also hesitant to reach out publicly for financial support because of the scrutiny I will get on my lifestyle decisions going forward. To be honest, I am a simple kind of person who lives modestly relative to most Nairobians!. However, I want to assure you that I am a person of integrity and I want you to trust my decisions with the funds donated to my medical fund. My principle is to ensure that there is a clear division of funds for my medical needs, and those for my personal needs. I want to assure you that I will be a good custodian of the contributions and donations I receive and that if they don’t help me in my medical journey, they will help another person through my foundation, Second Chances Foundation.
Only God will be my witness and I pray to Him for wisdom, guidance and good financial stewardship. And the Lord says in the scriptures, “If you love your neighbour as much as you love yourself, you will not want to harm or cheat him, or kill him or steal from him…love does no wrong to anyone” Romans 13:9-10
On May 1, 2013 the Second Chances Foundation will host a fundraising event towards my medical fund at Carnivore Grounds, Langata. To the sponsors of the event, those whom have sent in contributions from far and wide and those who will come through to the event, i say ASANTE Sana and may God Bless you for your generosity. Love, Waithera Sera Kabiru