Our community is mourning the loss of three extraordinary Kenyan women who specialized in the care of children with cancer who were among the passengers on Ethiopian Airlines flight 302, returning home after attending the SIOP Africa Meeting held in Cairo.
Jayne Kamau worked as a child life specialist at Moi University and Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital with children who had retinoblastoma, a rare eye cancer that is normally treated by removal of one or both eyes. In countries like the U.S., retinoblastoma has a survival rate of around 95%, but in Kenya this is much lower, partly due to later diagnosis of children. Kamau had been in Cairo presenting a poster on her work with retinoblastoma patients and their families.
She was dedicated to maintaining and growing the program as a sustainable model for Africa – led and fully staffed by Kenyan professionals. Her infinite capacity to bond with others on a human level made her an exceptional child and family support professional, as well as a respected advocate, trainer and mentor.
Bella Jaboma worked as a coordinator for the charity Hope for Cancer Kids at Kenyatta National Hospital in Nairobi and was also at the SIOP Africa 2019 Meeting.
She was enthused by child life and our brightest hope for transferring sustainable Kenyan-led child life services from the Sally Test Child Life Program at Shoe4Africa Childrens Hospital and Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital to Kenyatta National Hospital, Nairobi.
Dr. Grace Kariuki
Dr. Grace Kariuki, who was working with the Kenyan Ministry of Health on initiatives to improve cancer care across Kenya. In particular, she was working on a project to look at the cost and cost-effectiveness of childhood cancer treatment at Kenyatta National Hospital with a view to developing better treatment strategies for children with cancer.
Continuing their Legacy
SIOP is currently working on an obituary article to be published in our society journal PBC, highlighting their important work for children with cancer in addition to a more comprehensive SIOP Africa 2019 Conference Report to showcase their contributions to treatment and care as well.
WORLD EYE CANCER HOPE has set-up a dedicated memorial and fundraising website for these amazing women and please click on the link here or banner below if you would like to donate, create a memorial or your own fundraising activity to support their cause!
Jayne and Bella Fund
We have been receiving message from all over the world over the past week and would like to thank everybody for their kind words, thoughts and wishes.
We will update this section with more detailed information about any memorial or funeral services that will be held once we have more details.