Words by: Zukiswa Wanner
Fifty six year old Fraciah Maina is like any other woman older, younger or her age. She has loved, she laughs, she has cried. But she is not like any of these women really. Or maybe she is more like many women than most women are aware.
In 2012, Fraciah started feeling a growth around her vagina. She went to her local clinic in Kayole where she was told that to get rid of the growth she would need to have a child. The medical advisors clearly ignored her age. She laughed it off and went away deciding that perhaps she could not be helped. Two years later, she visited the clinic again for a pap smear. The nurse examining her noticed that there was some bleeding and pus from her vagina so some tests were done. The tests came back positive for cancer. Hoping for different results, Fraciah sought a second opinion at St. Mary’s Hospital in Langata where unfortunately the bad news was confirmed. Fraciah had stage three ovarian cancer.
Unable to continue working at her mutumba business because of her illness, Fraciah found herself between a rock and hard place as she needed financial assistance but was no longer able to be self-sustaining. Initially, help came from her cousin and what little savings she had in her bank account, but soon the cousin could no longer be of assistance. His wife had fallen ill and he needed all his resources to get his wife’s treatment.
Life has since become worse for Fraciah. Her daughter, a single mother, works at a hardware shop and whatever she makes goes to her child’s school fees so she has no money left to contribute to her mother’s medical needs. Fraciah stays with her son, who is trying to revive her mutumba business but things have been so tough that they are two months behind on rent.
Looking back, Fraciah wishes she had known about cancer and its possible impacts on her health back in 2012. She would have made different life choices and would not have ignored the vaginal swelling she had.
Fifty six year old Fraciah Maina is like any other woman older, younger or her age. She has loved, she laughs, she has cried. But she is not like any of these women. Or maybe she is more like many women than most women are aware. When her body exhibited the early stages of cancer she ignored it. How many women are like her and how many women know what signs to watch out for?
This month until March 16, The Second Chances Foundation is raising funds to help Fraciah meet her medical bills. She needs over Kshs 350,000 and we have already supported her with over Kshs 70,000. We are conducting an online raffle on our Facebook page www.facebook.com/MedicalFundAppeal where for your donation of a minimum of Kshs 200, you could win a variety of prizes from our sponsors: The Serena Hotel, The Tribe Hotel, Enashipai Resort and Spa, Weetabix, Coca-Cola and more.
MPESA Paybill: 321950
Let’s # GiveFraciahASecondChance!