Twenty-four-year-old Amina rejoices as she celebrates the one year anniversary of her son, Chamack, first being given the all clear from Burkitt lymphoma. Her emotions are a world away from her thoughts and feelings just a year ago.
Amina brought Chamack to Banso Baptist Hospital (BBH) for the first time in June 2017 when her son, three years old at the time, had a progressive, painless swelling in his mouth, stomach and eye. Her son's symptoms had developed just a few weeks after her husband had passed away, making for an extraordinarily difficult time for this young family.
After growing increasingly worried for her child, Amina consulted her local healthcare centre. The nurses at the local centre had recently completed a course on spotting the early warning signs of cancer so when Amino arrived, they wasted no time in referring him to BBH.
Despite becoming a widow just a month before, Amina was determined to find the strength to care for her son.
“At some points, I was hopeless about his situation but the doctors were very encouraging. It was the doctor at the healthcare centre who arranged transportation for me to come to the hospital and when I got here I was well received; I did not have to pay for treatment and I was supported with food and a place to stay with my sick child while waiting for treatment.”
Amina adds that her son’s survival has brought joy amongst her family and in-laws. Childhood cancer is almost unheard of in some rural communities whilst in others, it can be seen as a taboo subject with many believing it cannot be cured. This is not true and Amina's family can now testify this to other people in their village with Chamack back home and his mother looking forward to watching her son grow into his future.
Chamack’s survival is one of the benefits of a comprehensive childhood cancer care programme established in Cameroon by the Cameroon Baptist Convention Health Services which aims at promoting community awareness, early diagnosis, and professional medical and psycho-social care for children with cancer.
The success of this programme is as a result of twinning partnerships with Beryl Thyer Memorial Africa Trust UK, Stellenbosch University of South Africa, and Leeds Children’s Hospital since 2011, World Child Cancer has been a major funding partner of this collaborative initiative.
As well as these fantastic partners it is also down to you and your support. Your generosity has put a smile back on Amina's face during what could have been one of the worst moments of her life. Thank you for helping to bring hope and joy to families like Amina's and so many others around the world.