Maya is an 8 year old beautiful gal, daughter to Solomon Nyongesa and Legson Chepkemoi. They live in Utawala estate,Nairobi County, in Kenya.
Maya had enjoyed good health until Dec 2015 when the parents noted a white reflex at night, and they took her to an optician near their home who assured that all was well. The mother kept seeing the white reflex and was not reassured, so she shared with their church pastor who advised them to seek treatment in Kikuyu Eye Hospital because they specialised with eye treatment. In January 2016, the parents took Maya to Kikuyu Eye Hospital, where a diagnosis of left eye retinoblastoma was made. The hospital made plans to have the enucleation done, but Maya’s family was in shock learning that their only child, after a 10-year marriage at 1 year, needed to have her eye removed and they initially refused surgery.
Maya’s mum informed the child’s grandmother, who suggested they seek a second opinion at Lion’s Hospital where, after examination, the same diagnosis was made, and they were referred to Kenyatta National Hospital. On hearing the news, Legson fainted due to disbelief, and the husband was informed and joined them at Lion’s. They were escorted to Kenyatta National Hospital and were admitted and enucleation was done the very next day.
The child received great care and treatment in Kenyatta under the watchful care of Dr Kimani and her team. Histology showed fortunately that the disease was in the early stage and enucleation was the only treatment needed. Maya is now in grade 4 performing well in school and does her yearly check-up as an outpatient at Kenyatta National Hospital eye clinic. The family belongs to Victorious Children Cancer Support CBO where they learned about KnowTheGlow through Kenya’s KTG ambassador, Grace, and they hope that sharing Maya’s story will help more families in the nation find their way to care.