Caren is a 12-year-old girl from Kenya who is the third child in a family of seven. She contracted malaria and pneumonia when she was two and, while she recovered from those conditions, continued to experience a gradual swelling of her head thereafter.
Now, the expansion of the circumference of Caren’s head is one of many symptoms that she faces due to what has been diagnosed as hydrocephalus, or a buildup of fluid in the brain that increases intracranial pressure. In class, Caren trembles excessively when she writes, struggles to pay attention, and often falls asleep, resulting in the mockery of her peers. She additionally has little balance when she walks, struggles to urinate, and faces constant fatigue.
Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is requesting $685 to fund the insertion of a ventriculoperitoneal shunt that will drain the excess cerebrospinal fluid from Caren’s brain. Without treatment, Caren is at risk of vision loss, permanent brain damage, and even death. The procedure is scheduled to take place on June 29 and, once completed, will hopefully spare Caren of these awful complications.
“I feel like giving up at times but I have to bear down on for my children,” shares Caren’s mother.