Nakuru Hospice held a cancer awareness event for children in commemoration of this year’s World Hospice and Palliative Care Day.
The event’s theme was ‘Cancer Touches on Everyone,’ whether directly or indirectly and over 320 children were present at the event.
Nakuru Hospice Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Elizabeth Ndung’u expressed how cancer has affected everyone in the family, workplace, community, and even nationally.
“Children who suffer sometimes do not know the origin or nature of their illness and parents fear to disclose this information to them. It is important for these children to access palliative care.” Elizabeth said.
The aim of the event was to inform the children that cancer can attack anyone, from young children to old people.
“We should all care for people suffering from cancer and other life threatening illnesses.” The Hospice CEO said.
Emmanuel Kipkemoi, a Leukemia survivor who was lucky to get a sponsor to Spain for treatment and Lee Kariuki who had bone tumor at the hip but now is fit and walking gave their testimonies.
They told of what they went through and thanked God for taking them through the journey to their survival. They expressed gratitude to their parents and the hospice for the care extended to them.
Elizabeth said that there are those children who have a sick parent or a cancer survivor; they also have a session to express themselves especially when they bring their parents.
The Nakuru County Coordinator of Children Affairs Department Abdul Sheikh Yusuf spoke on various children rights at the event.
“Health care including palliative care is a basic right for all children,” said Abdul Sheikh.
He stressed that children suffer in silence and therefore need love and care.
He appealed to the Government to help the Hospice start a program for children who have cancer and other life limiting illnesses.
The hospice has already set aside a section within the hospice where it holds regular sessions for children with cancer.
The children are attended to medically and given psychosocial support by a counselor.
Besides counseling, the hospice has a room with facilities including dolls, balls and drawing materials.
Nakuru Hospice CEO says that through drawing, they are able to know what the children are going through.
The common type of cancers affecting children in the region is leukemia, bone cancer and sickle cell. Only single cases of stomach and colon cancer have been reported in children at the hospice.
According to the CEO this will be an annual event where children will have a chance to share with the world what they go through when sick and also when they become caregivers at a tender age.