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MEAK provides support for baby Dararo with a retinoblastoma

Two months ago I wrote for March to the Top about Baby Dararo from Marsabit in Kenya. She has a retinoblastoma in her right eye, which is a rare malignant tumour of the retina seen mostly in children.

She initially received successful surgery for the tumour, but she still requires monthly chemotherapy. MEAK’s Nargis Kassam has been working tirelessly to ensure that Dararo gets her treatment, which is actually quite a process!

Dararo and her mother travel by public transport from Marsabit to Nairobi, a journey that takes over 8 hours to cover the 500 kilometre distance. Nargis meets the family where the bus drops them off and then takes them to the MEAK accommodation, a small room in the Kawangare area of Nairobi, where they stay overnight. Nargis’ helper makes sure that there is food and water there for her and her mother to eat when they arrive.

The following day Nargis drives them (in the heavy Nairobi traffic) to Kenyatta National Hospital where Dararo gets her chemotherapy and a blood transfusion. This requires an inpatient stay of 4 days. Kenyan hospitals are unlike the hospitals we are all familiar with; Nargis supplies them with food, bowls and cutlery, a basin for washing and all the other necessities for the duration of their hospital stay. At the end of day 4, Dararo is discharged and Nargis braves the traffic again to take them back to Kawangare for the night, before they can set off on the day long journey back to Marsabit on the public bus.

School children screening3

Dararo is receiving excellent treatment for her tumour and her prognosis is quite good, despite her losing the sight in the right eye. Her treatment, however, is not free. Each month Nargis fundraises the required 20,000 KSH (approximately $185) to pay for Dararo’s chemotherapy and her transport. She volunteers her own time to transport the family to and from Kenyatta National Hospital and to bring them any necessities they require.

Nargis’ commitment to Dararo embodies the MEAK ethos of finding a patient in need and seeing their treatment through to completion, no matter how logistically complicated it is. Our aim is to see Dararo well again. This is just another way in which MEAK supports the local community.

Dararo needs another 5 chemotherapy sessions – any help anybody would like to offer this baby girl would be gratefully received

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