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Laboso was diagnosed with cancer 28 years ago, widower Abonyo reveals

A portrait of Joyce Laboso at her memorial service on August 1, 2019.

NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 1- Bomet Governor Joyce Laboso was first diagnosed with cancer 28 years ago when she was treated and healed, according to her widower Dr Edwin Abonyo.

In his eulogy at the All Saints Cathedral in Nairobi on Thursday, Dr Abonyo moved mourners as he recalled how the disease re-occurred years later.

“We had just begun to do things, you know, two young people, running around and not sure whether our families really love us or appreciate us,” he said, “they probably think our marriage is going to fail, then comes the disease.”

And when it happened, he said, “I got into my car and drove home. The first person I met was my mother, and while crying, I told her, Joyce is dying.”

Obonyo recounted how the reality of cancer in his wife hit him hard during their early times of their union.

‘My mother just prayed for us and said, “God will see you through”.

The disease would later strike again, but the 58-year-old Governor battled confidently without attracting a lot of attention, according to her husband of 37 years.

“Most of you would not have known unless you were her friend, that Joyce had a lot of problems. My children first knew when they were 20. She did not like drama or a situation where you are sympathising with her or lie down in bed because she is sick, that was not Joyce,” he said.

He recalled an incident when Bomet County hosted a marathon, and Laboso was unwell.

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“She would run and walk back to the car. She was actually struggling,” he recalled. “We had to take her to actually rest completely. When the Deputy President’s chopper had landed, she quickly got up, washed her face and rushed to receive him. That’s how Joyce used to do things.”

Laboso succumbed to cancer at Nairobi Hospital on Monday, barely two weeks after returning to the country from India where she had gone to seek treatment. She had been admitted to a hospital in the United Kingdom.

Laboso’s four children described her as a ‘loving and adorable mother, who gave them the best in life.”

The memorial service was attended by Deputy President William Ruto, Cabinet Secretaries, MPs, several governors among them Ann Waiguru, Charity Ngilu, Mike Sonko among others.

Another memorial service for Laboso will be held in Bomet on Friday ahead of Saurday burial in Koru, Kisumu County.

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