Faraja Unveils Campaign to Raise Cancer Awareness Among Kids

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By John Kariuki

  • In Kenya, childhood cancer is underreported and remains diagnosed at late stages. Cancer awareness is and the healthcare budget is insufficient to provide adequate diagnostic equipment and specialized health workers.

Faraja Cancer Support Trust has organized the #BeBoldGoGold Cancer Awareness Campaign for childhood cancer by hosting a fun family run/walk at Karura forest to raise Kshs.5 Million for the golden heroes (children with cancer). Faraja exceeded this target to collect a total of Ksh 7.6M.

September being a global Childhood Cancer Awareness month, Faraja is undertaking this fundraising to bring much-needed awareness about childhood cancer in Kenya and Faraja’s role in helping children with cancer in Kenya. 

The event also received a major boost from Victoria Commercial Bank PLC’s who donated Kshs.1 Million the gold sponsors. Other sponsors include Safaricom PLC and others. The funds will go towards supporting Faraja’s programs for children which include:

  • Weekly art and music therapy at Kenya National Hospital’s pediatric oncology wards – The program started with about 50 children in one ward and now see about 400 children every week from 7 different wards. In 2019, Faraja began visiting the children in the pediatric ward at the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital in Eldoret.
  • Weekly distribution of milk and apples to about 400 children at Kenyatta National Hospital every Friday. 
  • Financial support for treatment through a medical fund that has to date funded treatment for 123 children with cancer in Kenya at a total cost of Kshs. 11million. 83% of those children are below the age of 12 years. 

The event, which also doubled up as a warm-up race for the Standard Chartered Marathon 2022, took place at Karura Forest, K-Feet Grounds and targeted school-going children, corporates, lovers of sports and nature.  In addition to fun activities throughout the day, participants also chose to run either a 5Km, 10Km, or 21Km family walk/run.

“We are thankful to donors who have so far done activities like hikes, runs, donated birthdays, and sold cookbooks to help us raise funds for children. The funds entrusted within the Faraja Medical Support

Fund are not only secure but ensure the sustainability of medical support forever,” said Shaira Adamali, Founding Trustee

According to Acta Scientific Pediatrics, childhood cancer is on the rise globally with 385,509 children aged 0 – 19 years being diagnosed yearly.

This translates to 1,056 children diagnosed daily every year.  In Kenya, childhood cancer is underreported and remains undiagnosed resulting in poor outcomes. Cancer awareness is low and the healthcare budget is insufficient to provide adequate diagnostic equipment and specialized health workers. Other reasons contributing to this poor outcome for children with cancer in Kenya include:

  1. Lack of knowledge and awareness of symptoms and signs of early childhood cancer. 
  2. Weak referral systems resulting in late diagnosis
  3. Few cancer diagnostic and treatment centers in the rest of the country.: Kenyatta National

Hospital (KNH), Kenyatta University Referral and Teaching Hospital, and Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital are currently the only Government facilities that have radiotherapy machines.

  • Cultural beliefs and myths about cancer.

“There is a need for a more cohesive multi-sectoral approach to set up effective and affordable childhood cancer treatment programs for screening, early diagnosis, treatment, and palliative care for childhood cancers. With this campaign #BeBoldGoGold we hope to bring to light what Childhood cancer is about, where one can go to get diagnosed, the importance of early diagnosis, and how you as a Kenyan can help Faraja help these children,” added Harriet Wanjohi, Faraja Trustee.

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