Ten-year-old Patrick lives with his grandparents in his native town of Koutaba in the west of Cameroon. He lost his father at a very young age and his mother, Fadimatou, lives in another town, sending money that she makes selling flowers back to her family.
Back in March, Patrick’s grandparents noticed that he was beginning to lose weight and had a swollen abdomen. They took him to the District Hospital, about 50km from their home, where they were then told to go to the regional headquarters in Bafoussam so that Patrick could have an abdominal ultrasound scan. Unfortunately, they could not afford to make this journey and had wait several weeks for Fadimatou to return home with enough funds for them to travel to the hospital. Following the scan, it was confirmed that Patrick had cancer.
Fadimatou was shocked and upset at the news, but determined to make sure that Patrick would receive the treatment he needed. She took him to Banso Baptist Hospital, where he was admitted to the childhood cancer ward. Following a biopsy, he was diagnosed with Burkitt Lymphoma and started treatment straight away. Once admitted, Patrick and Fadimatou benefited from a welcome pack, provided by World Child Cancer, containing some food and other essentials to help get them through the first few days of being at the hospital.
Update: Patrick is undergoing treatment
Patrick has now completed his first two rounds of chemotherapy and is responding well to treatment so far. He will return home for a couple of weeks before coming back to Banso Baptist Hospital for further treatment.
Patrick faces a long taxi journey to and from the hospital. During the rainy season, the four-hour journey is often interrupted as the taxi needs to be pushed out of mud or up slippery stretches of hill (pictured below). This is a typical journey for many children with cancer in Cameroon who have to make long and difficult trips to hospital for treatment.
Patrick has been able to access treatment thanks to the comprehensive childhood cancer care programme established in Cameroon by the Cameroon Baptist Convention Health Services. This programme, supported by World Child Cancer, aims to promote community awareness, early diagnosis, and improve professional medical and psycho-social care for children with cancer. Thanks to your support and generosity more children with cancer, like Patrick, can receive the treatment and care that they desperately need.