, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 5 – Friends and relatives of ailing journalist Eliud Abong\’o have raised Sh2.4 million to help him get specialised colon cancer treatment in India.
They gathered at the Panafric hotel in Nairobi on Tuesday evening for the fundraiser that was led by veteran broadcaster Fred Obachi Machoka.
“Our efforts have paid off and we can now see the light at the end of the tunnel that our brother Abongo will finally get back to the newsroom,” said Mr Machoka who is the Chairman of the organising committee.
Mr Abongo had been seeking to raise at least Sh4 million for the operation.
“We are still appealing for more funds to bridge the shortfall,” said former KFF Secretary Sam Nyamweya who was the chief guest.
Newsroom staff from Capital FM, Citizen, BBC, Nation, KBC, Standard Group, Milele FM, and Radio Africa attended the fundraiser.
Mr Abong\’o who is currently admitted to the Nairobi Hospital cannot eat and is now on Intravenous Therapy – where a patient is given liquid substances directly through the veins.
A visit to the hospital shows that although the young radio journalist is trying to put on a brave face, one can easily see and tell the pain he is going through.
Elly, as he is known to many is suffering from colon cancer which comes with growths in the colon, rectum and appendix.
The journalist says he developed this problem in early 2008. “I went to Kenyatta National hospital where I was diagnosed with colon cancer,” Elly explained in a previous interview.
According to medics, the symptoms of colon cancer depend on the location of the tumor in the bowel and whether it has spread elsewhere in the body. Symptoms and signs are said to be divided into local, constitutional (which affects the whole body) and metastatic (caused by spread to other organs).
Elly says he underwent one surgery of the colon at Kenyatta hospital to make a bypass but three years down the line the disease seems to be progressing. He has also been on chemotherapy, a form of cancer treatment that uses chemical agents to kill cancer cells.
“I would go for sessions after every 21 days but now I have stopped as I await further medical treatment. Last year I went for eight sessions of chemotherapy which cost me about Sh800,000. This year I have gone for four which have already cost me Sh650,000,” he says.
“You see, the disease has finished me financially and what remains cannot cater for the house needs and everything else.”
The young father of one explained that his condition deteriorated about a month ago, when he was reading news at the BBC studios in Nairobi.
“I was in the middle of the bulletin then suddenly I could not project my voice but you know I had to read the news and finish. People in the London office were listening and they said that is not Elly’s voice unless something is happening,” he remembers.
“By the time I was coming out of the studio there were so many people standing by the door asking me what happened but I was not able to speak and I felt weak,” Elly says.
Elly was rushed to hospital where he underwent a scan and the oncologist advised that he undergoes surgery, to remove the part of the colon that is affected. This type of surgery can only be done in India.
He needs to raise Sh4.5 million to get the treatment in India where he is expected to stay for six to eight weeks.
With assistance from the media fraternity in Kenya, he is currently admitted to the Nairobi Hospital where he is on nutrient drips because he is unable to eat before he is flown to India.
“It seems as if now I need to go beyond drugs and have surgery,” he says.
Donations can be sent through ABONG’O MWIKOMA ELIUD ACC NO: 1116152320 KCB UNIVERSITY WAY. You can also email [email protected] or call CELL: +254 720 238034, +254 720 482252 for further information.