Raphael After Initial Chemotherapy
Raphael and his family come from a village in the district of Kole in northern Uganda – a journey with accessible roads and available transportation - that can take up to two and a half hours or more to reach our hospital, St. Mary’s Hospital Lacor in Gulu, Uganda.
Rapahel was referred to us by a health center nearby his home. His father accompanied him to our hospital. He provided us with Raphael’s social and recent medical history as the health center did not provide a referral letter. His father stated that he left six other children and his wife at home in order to bring 11 year old Raphael to St. Mary's. Both parents work as subsistence farmers – meaning that the family has very few financial resources. He informed us that Raphael had suffered with progressive swelling in the right jaw for three months. The swelling was initially thought to be due to an infected tooth. Raphael was otherwise well and had no other symptoms except for mild pain when we examined his very enlarged right jaw.
Based upon our findings at the time of his admission, we suspected that Raphael had Burkitt lymphoma. We did a full work-up that included blood tests, an ultrasound of his abdomen, and a biopsy of his jaw mass. The biopsy findings confirmed that he had Burkitt lymphoma. He had no other evidence of disease. We started him on the INCTR protocol for this cancer. He responded well to initial chemotherapy and his face is no longer disfigured by the jaw mass.
Due to the costs of transportation, which have substantially increased during the global pandemic, it was considered best for Raphael and his father to remain at the hospital’s family home during treatment. So far, Raphael has completed five of six planned cycles of chemotherapy. While with us, he continues with his primary school studies at the Rainbow Family Home School. His only major complaint has been about the food – evidently, he prefers home-style cooking!
We thank everyone who supports this project so that poor children who live in rural areas like Raphael can receive free treatment, have a chance for cure, and receive the social support that they need, including the opportunity to continue their education at the Rainbow Family Home School especially during prolonged stays away from home. Thank you again for your generous donations!