NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 10 – She is nine-years-old. Her dream is to be a human rights lawyer. But that noble dream stands little chance after she was diagnosed with a heart condition.
At the age of eight, she was diagnosed with a congenital heart disease – her heart has a hole.
What began as an outing would shock the entire family after Mercy was stopped from swimming.
“A doctor who happened to be within the pool’s vicinity, noticed that she was too weak to swim and on close examination, noticed that her heartbeat rate was faster than normal,” said the father.
“Prior to that, we had not observed any symptoms that could have shown that she wasn’t okay. Though she would sometimes feel weak after performing small tasks, we did not know the extent of the condition she was suffering from. Her nose bled once in a while, but we did not pay much attention to it. To us, nose bleeding once in a while looked normal but little did we know that it was the tip of the iceberg of an underlying problem,” added the father.
They rushed the little Mercy to Kenyatta National Hospital where they were later referred to the Mater Hospital for specialized treatment.
The doctor says her condition can only be treated abroad, preferably in India because it’s cheaper.
“Mercy is having a hole in the heart which has destroyed her lungs. Further, her condition is too advanced to be corrected at any local hospital,” noted Dr Christine Jowi, a paedeatric cardiologist.
The doctor informed Capital FM crew that the condition should have been corrected when she was one-year-old.
For the past one year, Mercy has not been going to school. Playing with her peers is now a lofty dream because her condition stops her from getting involved in active tasks.
Of all the things Mercy misses, playing with friends and school top the list.
“I just want to play with my friends. I miss them so much. And I feel so bad that I can’t go to school and study. My dream is to become a lawyer and defend the weak. This sickness threatens that dream,” she said.
While the family has raised Sh200,000 they are now appealing to well-wishers to help them raise the required balance of Sh1.3 million for her treatment in India.
Though the father is employed, the money he earns can only meet the needs of the family. The mother quit her job to take care of Mercy who needs round-the-clock monitoring.
Looking at their house in Mwea, one might not easily tell the extent of their need.
But as soon as the father starts to speak, gloom and an overwhelming sense of need in this family grips you. Their one bedroom house is decorated with messages from the Bible as gospel music plays from a stereo system.
Since June 2014, when Mercy’s condition was discovered, the family has relied on divine help, clinging to hope lest the magnitude of their daughter’s condition drives them insane, so they confessed.
The mother managed to veil her desperation with a sense of composure.
“Ever since my daughter became sick, I’ve not been eating well. This has been a period of great trials; in fact, my husband Patrick has lost a lot of weight,” added the wife.
The family feels like they are carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders and if no one comes to their aid soon enough, they might be crushed by the load.
The hope that their daughter can get back to her feet and resume normal activities like her peers sparks brightness on their faces.
But the Sh1.3 million required for treatment in India is not within the reach of the family. Contributions can be made to the family through MPesa Paybill number 598557, account name Mercy Ngwabe.
The family can be reached through +254 716 344 174
Story by Dannish Odongo.