Teresia is a homemaker with five children between ages six and 26. Her husband is a casual laborer who depends on manual jobs to earn a living for their family. They live together in Thika, a town in south-central Kenya, in a three roomed rental house. In 2017, Teresia began to experience troubling symptoms, including difficulty swallowing. She was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism and she needs surgery to prevent her symptoms from getting worse. She has made several trips to different healthcare facilities that have exhausted her savings. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare (AMH), is helping Teresia receive treatment. She is scheduled to undergo a thyroidectomy on March 19th at AMH's care center. Surgeons will remove all or part of her thyroid gland. The procedure will cost $686, and she and her family need help raising money. Teresia shared, “I have had treatment but I keep feeling unwell. This time I am hopeful all will be well, but first I need this surgery."
Nancy, a native of Kenya, lost her first husband to a road accident in 2008. After remarrying, she developed a goiter, or abnormal swelling of the thyroid gland. As her health declined, Nancy was ejected from her new husband’s home—leaving the 34-year-old with three children to care for, and no ability to bring in an income because of her goiter. Although she used to earn money as a casual laborer, “Nancy has not been able to attend to any work since her condition started,” explains our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation (AMHF). Nancy’s goiter, which is located on her neck, makes it difficult for her to swallow anything. “She also gets numb on her neck and has blood pressure problems,” adds AMHF. “She cannot perform even menial duties, as she also faints from time to time.” As a result, Nancy is forced to rely on donations from charitable organizations to feed and house herself and her children. In the future, “if not treated, Nancy may develop goiter-related complications such as palpitations.” Fortunately, Nancy’s condition is curable. For $640, we can sponsor the surgery that Nancy desperately needs, but cannot afford: a subtotal thyroidectomy. In this procedure, doctors will remove the majority of her two thyroid lobes, leaving just enough tissue to keep the gland functioning. $640 will also cover expenses for Nancy to recuperate in the hospital for three days after her operation. Nancy looks forward to being free of her goiter so that she can return to work. “I just want to raise my children and not to rely on support for everything, including food,” she shares.
Christine is a young mother of two children who has difficulty swallowing food and even breathing. The 28-year-old farm worker has not been able to work at the local school's farm in Kenya since she was diagnosed with thyroiditis. Christine and her husband live in a grass thatched house in a rural town and cannot afford the cost to care for Christine's thyroid goiter. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation (AMHF), says "she has not been able to raise funds for specialized treatment since she was diagnosed with goiter in 2014. She requires support to be able to have the surgery and improve her health." AMHF adds, "if not treated, the thyroid may cause respiratory palpitations." For $640, Christine will have surgery to remove the growth on her thyroid. She says, "my wish is to get well and be able to educate my children and assist my husband raise the family."
Grace is an elderly lady from Kenya who lives alone as her husband is deceased. She is a mother to four children. Grace keeps a few goats and tends to her small farm to meet her daily needs. In February 2016, Grace noticed a swelling on her neck that became painful. She was brought to our facility and given medication. However, after several clinical visits, Grace was told her symptoms are due to a thyroid goiter, or an enlarged thyroid gland. She was told that she needed a subtotal thyroidectomy, but unfortunately the cost of treatment is too high for her to afford. If not treated, Grace may suffer hyperthyroidism and further complications, such as pain and inability to work. “I want to be treated because the pain is affecting me," Grace shared. "I want to enjoy my old age."
Hope is a 44-year-old woman from Uganda. She is a single mother of four daughters. She has worked hard to send her daughters to school. The oldest is studying at a university, while the others are in high school or primary school. Hope works as a nurse. The family lives in a three-room house in western Uganda. For over five years, Hope had a multinodular goiter, or thyroid swelling, which she treated with medication. In August of 2016, she met a missionary doctor who connected her with a surgeon at our medical partner's care center in Kenya, AIC Kijabe Hospital. Hope traveled all the way to Kenya to receive treatment. When Hope reached the hospital, she was unable to breathe or swallow easily. Without treatment, she risked further swelling and pain. Fortunately, on December 16, she underwent a thyroidectomy, during which surgeons removed her thyroid. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is requesting $640 to fund this treatment. “I want to be well to continue working for my four girls and give them education,” says Hope.
Ruth is 59 years old, and a single mother of ten children from Kenya. Her youngest child is in elementary school, while the others have completed high school. Ruth sells second hand clothes for a living but has not been consistent due to her thyroid problem. Since September 2011, Ruth has been suffering from goiter, a swelling of the neck resulting from enlargement of the thyroid gland. She has been on medication until January 2016 when she started experiencing eating and breathing problems. She is not able to eat with ease, especially with solid foods. Ruth needs a subtotal thyroidectomy to remove most of her enlarged thyroid, leaving just enough to maintain thyroid function. $640 will cover the costs of the surgery and care Ruth needs. Let's help raise the funds! Ruth says, “I want to get well and provide for myself and my children who are not doing well."
Patricia is a mother of seven children. Her husband works on construction sites as a casual laborer. When Patricia was admitted to the hospital for treatment of another condition, surgeons discovered she had hyperthyroidism. She has difficulty eating solid foods and working. They recommended that she undergo a thyroidectomy. If not treated, Patricia may experience swelling and discomfort when she breathes and swallows. Fortunately, Patricia will undergo a thyroidectomy on March 8. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is requesting $640 to fund this treatment. Patricia says, “I want to be treated and go home to my children who need me.”
Grace is a 27-year-old woman from Burundi who is currently living in Kenya as a refugee. She works as a French translator, and she and her husband operate a motorcycle transportation business. They have two children together. Grace began having breathing difficulties in December of 2013. She has since been diagnosed with a goiter, a thyroid enlargement. This causes her pain and makes breathing and swallowing difficult. Grace is scheduled to undergo a thyroidectomy on January 27. This procedure will alleviate her symptoms, allowing her to breathe easily. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is requesting $640 to pay for the surgery. Grace says, “I wish to be well and find means through which I can better my life."
Rose is a mother of eight children. The oldest is in high school and the youngest is just one year old. She makes money by cleaning clothes. Rose started having problems with a thyroid goiter in 2012. She experiences mild pain from a swelling on her neck, especially when she swallows solid foods or tablets. She was unable to seek treatment until 2016. Doctors can treat her goiter by removing part of the thyroid. If not treated, the swelling could continue to grow, which might result in swallowing and breathing complications. Fortunately, Rose is scheduled to undergo surgery on March 15. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is requesting $640 to fund this procedure. Rose says, “My children are still young and rely on me. I would wish to be treated and regain my energy to provide for them."
Faith is a mother of three children, with one in high school and the other two in primary school. She is an active Christian and tries not to miss church activities as well as small Christian community meetings. She has been diagnosed with a euthyroid goiter. Faith is psychologically affected by her condition.If not treated, the swelling will increase and her voice will be affected. She may find it hard swallowing as well. Faith has a slightly swollen neck. Sometimes, she complains of having a hoarse voice Faith complained of swelling on her neck about one year ago. She went to two hospitals before coming to Kijabe where she had CT scan done. She was diagnosed with goiter and put on medication. She did not improve and that is when she sought services from Kijabe. Thyroid lobectomy was recommended but Faith is worried as she does not know where she will get money from. Faith’s is a housewife and relies on the husband to provide for their daily needs. Her husband sells green vegetables in central Kenya. They live in a three roomed rental house leaving them with huge financial obligations to meet. They husband has to save some money for school fees, rent and daily needs. They say that to meet the amount needed for her treatment, they will need about three months of saving. Let us help Faith
Evan is reserved and seems hesitant to talk much. His sister-in-law, who accompanied him, tells me Evan is worried because he has been informed that he will need surgery on his thyroid. His default demeanor, as she tells me, is talkative and jovial. This news however, hinders that. Throughout our talk, I try to reassure him that many patients have a similar condition and have undergone successful treatment. Psychologically however, Evan has been too deeply affected to be put at ease by my words. Evan is especially nervous about the possibility of complications arising from the surgery. If Evan does not receive treatment the chances of the goiter increasing in size will loom and could potentially lead to complications with breathing and swallowing. Evan has had the swell for the last 8 years. This visit to Kijabe is his first time ever in a hospital. When he began to notice breathing problems this April he decided it was time to finally pay the hospital a visit. Upon consultation, Evan was diagnose with a goiter and surgery was recommended. Unfortunately, Evan is unable to raise the amount needed for the operation and is in need of financial assistance. Evan makes a living from casual labor - getting employment when he can in places that do not require specialized skills. On the whole, unskilled labor is seasonal work, thus resulting in sporadic income for Evan. A difficult reality for many Kenyans, Evan included, is a lack of continued education due to funds. This makes it difficult for Evans to make any more money than he does now. The work he does now earns him about $5.00 a day. The likelihood of Evan saving up $400.00 is slim, and thus he must turn elsewhere for help with his treatment.