Sunteți pe pagina 1din 4

Let me live (Tribute to Caleb Ngugi Kipkan) Nothing in the world can compare to the pain of a mother who

buries a child. Up until October 2008, Caleb Ngugi Kipkan was a normal kid, he loved playing football and his favorite football teams were Arsenal and Barcelona. He wanted to become a pilot but that was never to be. Caleb Ngugi a form two student at Cardinal Maurice Otunga School was buried on 8 th May 2012 at their Ikahu family home. He was diagnosed with Leukemia, a form of cancer that affects the White Blood Cells known as Lymphocytes. Violet Kipkan or Mama Caleb vividly remembers the journey that took the better part of the last four years. It was a trying time for the family but Caleb was the source of the familys courage. According to her mum, Caleb was a born fighter with an infectious smile. He was not a talkative child but he had many friends. He never complained about his pain, never missed a Sunday service and was part of the High Scholars of the Deliverance Church Kahawa Sukari. He always wore a smile, he had a steely determination to live, captured in a television interview before his demise where he told the reporter I want to live and enjoy life. He was hard working and would wake up at 5 a.m to study; he attained 343 marks in his KCPE even though he missed school due to his condition. He was a staunch Christian and on his deathbed, his last words were gratitude and heartfelt thanks to his personal savior Jesus Christ and Almighty God for the gift of life. His message to the youth, never give up; every day is a gift and thank God for life. Mama Caleb recollects the fight to save his dear son. The symptoms of leukemia can easily be confused with malaria and sadly this was Calebs fate. He felt fatigued, loss of appetite, swollen joints and severe back pains. He was routinely treated for malaria at a local hospital in BuruBuru. One day he woke with a severe backache and his could not overstretch. A full haemogram was done in October 2008 and the diagnosis was Acute Leukemia, he was admitted at Gertrudes

Children Hospital where he underwent Chemotherapy and Radiotherapy, which is referred to as Maintenance. The cancer was under remission and according to the pathological report it was less than 5%. Three years later in October 2011, the cancer recurred; the doctors recommended a bone marrow transplant to cure the disease. In Kenya currently there are treatments facilities that can handle this delicate and complex operation, the family sought help from the University of Cape Town Hospital in South Africa. Caleb was to be accompanied by a matching sibling donor but unfortunately, none of his siblings was a perfect match. They started the process of looking for a donor at the South African Bone Marrow Registry. In the meantime efforts were made by a group of Christian youths which included his siblings Grace, Njoki, Lydia, Jack and friends from different churches to raise part of the money for treatment which ran into millions and thats how the Let me Live or Team Caleb initiative was born. It started with an awareness drive, which started with a concert dubbed Let me Live on April 15 2012 at the NPC Woodley at Ngong Road with printed T-shirts and bands going for a thousand shillings and two hundred shillings each respectively. The concert was graced by a number of gospel singers and was a success and it managed to raise a substantial amount for this noble cause of saving Caleb. Calebs mother says God heals in different ways and on May 2nd at 12:30 a.m while fixing his marvin hat and asking for juice, he was called by his creator. He was scheduled to travel to South Africa on the next day with air tickets and other travel arrangements already made. The echo of this 17-year-old boy, gone too soon but not in vain; is the spirit that lives in the hearts of the young men and women who are currently taking the leukemia awareness drive to the next level, a national level. The Let me Live or Team Caleb Foundations main is to see the establishment of a fully equipped bone marrow transplant facility in Kenya with help from the

government and other corporate and international organizations. Aside from that, they are in the initial stages of organizing an annual leukemia awareness week, which culminates in a walk named after this exceptional young man; The main goal is to raise funds for other leukemia patients in the country and sensitize the public about preventive and early detection measures. Patrick Mbugua, the current chairperson of the foundation says the membership is open for likeminded youths to join and be part of this noble undertaking. He goes on to say, The Kenyan public is largely uninformed about leukemia and this was evident in their funds drive when we interacted with Kenyans and this information gap has to be filled because early detection of leukemia increases chances of complete remission. The Bone marrow accounts about 2 to 5 per cent of a persons body weight and is of two types. The Yellow bone marrow is made up principally of fat, and red bone marrow is tissue in which red and white blood cells and blood platelets originate. Acute lymphoblastic leukemia affects the bodys blood making system, including bone marrow and the lymphatic system. It develops from lymphoblasts (a type of white blood cell) in the bone marrow. The cancer develops in the bone marrow, but quickly spreads into the blood, and eventually into the lymph nodes and other parts of the body. The abnormal white blood cells crowd out other blood cell elements such as red
blood cells and platelets. The elevated white blood cells are immature and do not function properly.

Symptoms of the disease can include : frequent infections, poor healing of small cuts or sores, and anemia. Fevers and night sweats weakness and fatigue, headaches, bruising of the skin and bleeding from the gums, joint pain, swollen lymph nodes in the armpit, neck, or groin, and a decreased appetite or weight loss.

Many researchers believe that risk factors include; smoking and tobacco use, exposure to high doses of radiation or the chemicals benzene or formaldehyde, and chemotherapy used to treat other cancers. Most people who get leukemia do not have any risk factors. Without identification of the disease and successful treatment, the disease is usually fatal.