Cancer in Kenya: Giving a real chance of recovery

by Faraja Cancer Support Trust
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Cancer in Kenya: Giving a real chance of recovery
Cancer in Kenya: Giving a real chance of recovery
Cancer in Kenya: Giving a real chance of recovery
Cancer in Kenya: Giving a real chance of recovery
Cancer in Kenya: Giving a real chance of recovery
Cancer in Kenya: Giving a real chance of recovery
Cancer in Kenya: Giving a real chance of recovery
Cancer in Kenya: Giving a real chance of recovery
Cancer in Kenya: Giving a real chance of recovery
Cancer in Kenya: Giving a real chance of recovery
Cancer in Kenya: Giving a real chance of recovery

At 32 years of age, Lucy was diagnosed with cervical cancer in October 2015. Her plight began when she was pregnant with her second child and started bleeding heavily. Lucy thought it had something to do with her pregnancy and largerly ignored it and when necessary, managed the bleeding by wearing sanitary towels. She carried the pregnancy to term and expected that after delivery, the bleeding would stop.

Sadly not only did Lucy's bleeding not cease but she also lost her new born baby just three months after birth. A year later Lucy was pregnant again and this time her bleeding got worse. She felt constantly weak throughout her third pregnancy until the birth of the baby. Scared for her health, Lucy's husband decided to send her to a medical camp at Kenya's Narok town ( about 200 Kilometres from Kenya's capital city Nairobi). The medics at the camp advised Lucy to have a hysterectomy to stop the bleeding but advised her to first have further tests done. These tests revealed that Lucy had cervical cancer.

She would spend 5 months admitted at a Provincial General Hospital because her blood count was very low and she needed a transfusion. Once she had recovered, she begun chemotherapy, frightened by the fact that she did not have money for the consequent radiotherapy treatment. Lucy’s condition not only took a toll on her body but also on her family financially. The doctors advised Lucy to seek financial assistance from Faraja Cancer Support Trust, located in Nairobi.

Lucy and her husband saved enough busfare and made it to Nairobi where they consulted extensively with Faraja's Patient Support Manager, Phillip.  After having her reports reviewed by an oncologist, Faraja happily paid for Lucy's radiotherapy treatment. She has since finished all 30 sessions of radiotherapy.

Lucy and her husband say that they have found a home away from home at Faraja having been through numerous hospitals and faced a lot of frustration. Lucy says she feels confident that her treatment went well and is excited to  reunite with her young family.

Sadly, there are only two National Radiotherapy machines in Kenya which frequently break down. These machines, one of which is outdated, serves a population of 45 million Kenyans. With an annual mortality rate of 27,000 Kenyans, more support is needed to reduce the cancer burden in Kenya. On the 12th of November 2016, Faraja launched the Faraja Cancer Support Fund ( FCSF).

FCSF is a corpus of funds which, when invested, will provide a steady stream of income for Faraja and ensure at least 50 patients can receive life saving treatment every year, forever...patients like Lucy.

"I have faith in God that I will be healed. I have met other patients like meand I realise that I am not alone. With the support I have here atFaraja, I can see myself getting cured and going back to doing things for myself such as house chores and carrying my baby."

Learn more about our 6 year journey of giving hope, help and life click here


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Melvin and mum
Melvin and mum

                                                                     FARAJA AT 6


As we head to the festive season and the beginning of a new year, I thought I would share Faraja’s progress over the last 6 months. We are proud to have officially launched the Faraja Cancer Support Fund on the 12th of November 2016. It marks the beginning of a journey for cancer patients who can have now have access to life saving treatment and consequently, a real chance at recovery.


“If it was not Faraja Cancer Support, I would only help my child by giving him pain killers. We had no other way of alleviating his pain” – Melvin’s Mother, Margaret.


Melvin is a three and a half year old boy that we are currently supporting under our medical assistance program. He has early stage kidney cancer, which gives him a good chance at recovery if treatment is sought early. Lucky for Melvin, his mum took him to a referral hospital in Kenya’s Rift Valley called the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital, after his constant stomach ache did not cease. Faraja works closely with oncologists around the country who send needy cases to us for financial assistance. Melvin’s mother fundraised to get bus fare for herself and her baby to travel to Kenya’s capital Nairobi and apply for financial aid. Melvin is currently undergoing 25 sessions of radiotherapy treatment that will cost about Kshs 200,000 ( $2000). All this has been made possible thanks to the generous donations made to the Faraja Cancer Support Fund.

Sadly, more help is needed to assist not only children like Melvin but also adults who are in need of medical assistance. The Faraja Cancer Support Fund has so far raised Kshs 60 million ( $600,000) The Fund’s goal is to raise at least Kshs 100million (US $ 1million) within 2 years. A corpus of funds that, when invested, will generate a perpetual stream of income for Faraja. This will give hope and a real chance of recovery, to children like Melvin and adults, fighting cancer, every year forever.


Top line statistics on the cancer scene in Kenya

  • 3rd leading cause of morbidity in Kenya
  • 1 in 10 children will survive compared to 85% of children in the UK
  • 27,000 annual mortality rate with 50 % of cancer diagnosed with cancer in England and Wales survive
  • 14 oncologists nationwide compared to 766 in the UK ( by 2014)
  • 45 million: population of Kenya.
  • 2 national radiotherapy machine. 1 frequently breaks down due to excessive use
  • KES 1,000 radiotherapy per session
  • 1-year average waiting time at Kenyatta National Hospital.
  • KES 8,000 radiotherapy per session at private clinics


We put together a video that highlights what Faraja has achieved now that we are celebrating six years of giving hope, help and life to cancer patients and their care givers. Click here to view it.

Where we raise and how we spend our money


Faraja Cancer Support Trust is a charitable trust that solely relies on donations for her operations. The Faraja Cancer Support Fund was an idea conceptualized from the need to have a perpetual stream of income for medical treatment. This allows our other fundraising activities ( White Water Rafting and Kenya’s Biggest Coffee Morning) to cater for our running costs. Initial deposits into our medical fund  came not only from my two bike rides ( 2013 and 2015) but also from cash deposits and donations via Global Giving’s match days and a community grant from the Roomera Foundation. We also had a successful golf day and carnival ball held in October 7th 2016 that was organized by a friend of Faraja in loving memory of a wife/friend who passed on from breast cancer. Proceeds from these two events went directly to our medical fund. Most recently, a popular restaurant in Nairobi published a cook book whose proceeds go directly to our medical fund. To view a full breakdown of our financial statement over the last six months click here


“I thought that I would become the families breadwinner after my mum was diagnosed with cervical cancer but thanks to the support we have received at Faraja, we have hope and hope is what we desperately needed”- Evelyn, 21 year old care giver to 53 year old Sibia Nyaboke.


We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your support and wish you a very Happy Festive Season and a very Happy 2017.

Evelyn and her mother,Sibia Nyaboke
Evelyn and her mother,Sibia Nyaboke
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Little Cythnia - who is doing well today
Little Cythnia - who is doing well today

A warm greeting from Kenya,

Every few months I like to update everyone who has personally sponsored me. As Faraja currently receives no government or international aid support we rely entirely on the generosity of individuals and companies. In turn this brings hope and support to those living with cancer in Kenya today.

One such person is 2 year old Cynthia, pictured above who was diagnosed with Nefroblastoma last year. Her family were devastated as there was no way they could afford the Kshs 223,000 (£1,503) needed for her treatment plan, even though there was a very high chance of recovery.

When the staff at Faraja heard about the family’s plight, a medical assistance grant was awarded which ensured Cynthia could receive radiotherapy, anaesthesia, blood transfusion and ambulance runs. Over the the past 12 month we have paid for 21 other people’s treatments. Thank-you for helping make this happen.

Today, I am excited to share with you two major Faraja developments;

1. A new Outreach Centre will be opened in Eldoret, by the end of the year.

A high priority for Faraja staff, is to reach out further and connect with people living in remote communities. The staff team at Faraja has identified a start point in Western Kenya and the base is Eldoret.

The first step will be to run a large screening camp in partnership, with amongst others, Nakumatt and Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital - with a focus on breast, prostate and cervical cancers. Following this, I am delighted to announce that Faraja will open a new out-reach centre by the end of 2016 which could potentially double the amount of people we reach.

Philip, our patient support manager, and I were in Eldoret recently. Philip commented ‘there we met several kids with Wilms tumour, a Kidney cancer. In developed countries most kids survive and go on to live normal healthy lives due to the highly treatable nature of the disease – but in Kenya survival rates are much lower due to lack of funds and treatment. Faraja has already been supporting many of these kids already remotely’.

2. The Faraja Cancer Support Fund campaign has now reached half way mark – raising Kshs 50 million (£338K).

Our vision is for all adults and children, diagnosed with cancer in Kenya, to be able to access the right medical treatment at the right time for all adults and children. A powerful pool of funds, called the Faraja Cancer Support Fund (FCSF), will be invested to generate life-saving medical grants for generations to come. This will give hope and a real chance of recovery to thousands.

Behind the scenes the campaign has been very active to raise the initial Kshs 100 million (£683K) capital. My bike ride in October last year, which you kindly supported, raised Shs15million (£102K) for FCSF. Philanthropists, companies and foundations are starting to recognise the long-term sustainability and solutions the FCSF will bring

If you or your workplace are in the position to consider further support for the Faraja Support Cancer Fund, you can do so here - and remember if you are a UK taxpayer Faraja will benefit from the Gift Aid.

Thank-you for taking the time to read this letter – and when you are next visiting Kenya please do let me know and I would love to show you around the Faraja centre! My contact details are +254 722 516132 and

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Last year you very kindly choose to help people living with cancer in Kenya, by supporting my big bike ride. With your help I ended up raising an incredible Kshs 15 million shillings (just over £100K), which, as you know has been channelled towards the new Faraja Cancer Support Fund.

It is difficult to explain just how important this work is; already saving many lives and reducing much suffering.
As an early supporter, I am committed with keeping you fully updated on how this work is travelling, and it’s impact. As such you are one of the first people to receive our ‘All About’ brochure, which is actually being printed this week.

If I can ask you to sit down with a cup of tea, and read it from cover to cover – I think you will be really impressed! In just five minutes you’ll see how much has been achieved to date, and what the next steps are. It also touches about some real-life stories about children and adults whom have been helped recently.

In Kenya, we are about to launch a large scale campaign to encourage individuals, companies and grant making trusts to support this project with significant gifts. As one of our international friends, I would be really grateful if you could pass this on to anyone who maybe in position to consider supporting this campaign in your country.

The goal is to raise a total of Kshs 100 million (£675K) within two years. I am delighted to say that through both online/offine donations and pledges, we have reached the Kshs 40 million mark (£270K )… nearly half way. Some early adopters such as Nakumatt, East Africas largest supermarket, have wholeheartedly belive in this work which has made a big difference.

Full details an can be seen here (which also has a link to the brochure as well) or of course I can be contacted on

Once again – thank you so much for being a part of making this happen, you helped to get us this far.

kind regards


Ps if you are a UK Tax payer, we will received the Gift Aid tax benifit through any donations made via

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Neila - who started her treatment in August 2015
Neila - who started her treatment in August 2015

Following your kind and generous decision to sponsor my ‘Cycle to Conquer Cancer’ campaign, I am delighted to send you a little update on how your gift is helping to save lives already. 

In just over 3 weeks, I will be on the start line of my challenging 350Km ride, alongside some other amazing women cycling for the same cause. To help me get through to the finish line I have been increasing from 118km to 180km.  I am starting to think that 350Km is achievable!

The distance has not been the only challenge – there is also the matter of my Ksh 10 million (around £65K) - fundraising goal. I am over the moon to announce, with your help, I have just reached Ksh 8 million - and now just Ksh 2 million to go.

As you are aware, all the monies will be used to kick-start the newly created Faraja Cancer Support Fund. Ksh 10 million is enough to save the lives of at least 5 adults and children, every year, forever.

Just this week the Kenyan government has announced that the only radiation machine in public health for 42 million people has broken down. This situation is dire considering the current waitlist is over 1,000 and new bookings are allocated to 2017…… No wonder so many people die on the waitlist.

In the interim, whilst we wait for the government state cancer healthcare to improve, Faraja has a proven system in place that can get people the right treatment, at the right time.

In just the last couple of months alone, I have the permission to share with you,  Faraja has paid for the life-saving treatment for all of the below people in the private sector. Without this there would have had no hope or chance of recovery.

  • Neila - 21 - diagnosed with stage 3 anorectal cancer - undergoing radiotherapy treatment.
  • Samuel - 20 – diagnosed with testicular cancer – undergoing 30 sessions of radiotherapy.
  • Cynthia - 2 – diagnosed with nephroblastoma – undergoing radiotherapy for 13 days.
  • Joyce – 35 - diagnosed with breast cancer – will commence chemotherapy treatment soon.
  • Ebby - 52 - currently receiving radiotherapy treatment for 6 weeks.
  • Judy Njoki-  35 - cervical cancer – just completed radiotherapy and brachytherapy.
  • Lucy – 41 - early stage breast cancer and receiving radiotherapy treatment for 6 weeks.

Fortunately individuals and companies such as yourself are slowly starting to recognise the scale of the problem and are trusting Faraja to deliver at a grassroots level.  Last year, Nakumatt, Kenya’s largest supermarket became a full funding partner. Throughout October 2015 the ‘Buy Blue, Fight Cancer Campaign’, raised Ksh 5 million for our medical assistance work, and this years campaign is set to be bigger.

After the bike ride, I will write to you again to let you know how the challenge went. In the meantime I would be really grateful if you give my fundraising page details to anyone you know that could help me raise the last Ksh 2 million!

Thank-you again for your support.

 kind regards


PS at the moment giving through the Global Giving (GG) platform is the only way that UK based Faraja supporters can Gift Aid their donations. GG has also just told us that between 19-26 October they will be running a matched giving campaign for upto 50% of donations given. My Cycle to Conquer Cancer fundraising page will remain “live” till 26 October.

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Faraja Cancer Support Trust

Location: Nairobi - Kenya
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @FarajaTrust
Project Leader:
Olivia Shah
Nairobi , Kenya
$82,029 raised of $100,000 goal
681 donations
$17,971 to go
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