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Saturday, August 19, 2017

'Daddy sitakufa' girl loses fight with cancer

final rest : One of Princess Nyambura’s last photos, taken at KNH.
final rest : One of Princess Nyambura’s last photos, taken at KNH.

A four-year-old girl deported from India in December last year because she could not raise Sh4 million for her cancer treatment, has passed away.

Princess Josephine Nyambura touched the heart of many Kenyans when she promised her father "daddy sitakufa (daddy, I will not die)" as he desperately sold the last of his household items to fund her treatment.

She has battled an aggressive form of acute lymphocytic leukemia, a cancer of blood and the bone marrow since 2014.

Princess life would have been saved through a bone marrow transplant at Artemis Hospital in India but medics complained her family struggled to even pay for the preparatory treatment.

Her father, Julius Macharia, said she died at the Kenyatta National Hospital where she was admitted after deportation. She was badly swollen and need urgent transfusion of platelets.

"We did all we could to give her the best medical care, but it's like God wanted her in heaven," Macharia said. Princess was buried at Kangaita village of Kirinyaga last Friday.

A small team of friends and well-wishers supported the family as Macharia and his wife Caroline Mukiri struggled to find money.

Survival rates for acute childhood leukemia in India is about 70 per cent. Princess's chances of survival plummeted dangerously when she returned to Kenya, where only one in 10 children survive cancer, according Hope For Cancer Kids, a cancer awareness NGO in Nairobi.

Leukaemia, a cancer of the white blood cells, is the second most common form of the disease among children.

Treatment is expensive and while oncologists initially thought some children didn't fare well in cancer recovery due to genetic pre-disposition, they now believe it is poverty that contributes to mortality.

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