Family members of a mother who is being held at a hospital in India have made an appeal to the public to help them offset the bill.
Hellen Juma’s family is seeking to raise Sh1.3 million to pay the remaining hospital bill in India and another Sh3.8 million that will help her continue with her treatment back in Kenya.
Mrs Juma was diagnosed with colon cancer early this year, after long periods of complaining of excruciating pain in her stomach. The mother of six had to travel from Kimilili town to Nairobi in March to undergo a biopsy and colonoscopy.
“There was no counselling before the results came out. The mention of colon cancer terrified us. Mum cried nearly the whole night. It seemed like someone had just told her that her days on earth were numbered. The disease took a quick toll on her after the confirmation. We had to work on how she would travel to India for proper treatment, unaware where we’d get the funds from,” wrote Rixpoet on a blog called Kenya Times that highlights Mrs Juma’s condition.
The family was able to raise 1.3 million that they used in their mother’s travel. On arrival in India, the doctors decided that she should undergo surgery since her colon had blockage that prevented her from passing stool. The cancer had spread to most parts of her stomach.
Mrs Juma was also supposed to start chemotherapy a month after her surgery but two weeks post-surgery things went from bad to worse when she started having frequent seizures. Later she was diagnosed with a brain tumor.
“The amount we had initially raised for her treatment was now fully used up and mum needed to go back for brain surgery as a point of urgency. Seizures were getting more each day. They had started at one a day but were now even 4 times a day within in 4 days. The hospital agreed to operate even as they awaited the funds. The surgery lasted 9 hours,” the blogger recounts.
She is supposed to go for 12 rounds (6 cycles) of chemotherapy and has currently only been able to undergo two. She needs continued hospital treatment to help reduce the risk of infection.
According to the blog, the remaining phase of her treatment will involve 5 more cycles of chemotherapy treatment average to about Sh2.1 million, an additional Sh700, 000 on final surgery not to mention an average bill of Sh1 million for hospitalizations, tests, immune boosters, energy revamping, and blood transfusions amongst other procedures expected in the span of her treatment.
But even with these costs, the family is hoping there will be no more tumors to be operated on or unforeseen complications.
The family has resorted to using social media to ask for financial help from well-wishers, and depend on netizens to help spread the word, making the hashtag #BringHellenHome the most popular on Tuesday morning.