A pupil diagnosed with bone cancer beat all odds to post good results in the last KCPE examination.
Mary Kamanthe Mutua, 15, was one of the top performers in Mombasa's public schools category after scoring 415 marks. This was despite the fact that at the time of doing the examination she suffered the debilitating effects of cancer, even though she had no idea what exactly the problem was.
Her parents did not break the news that she had been diagnosed with bone cancer until she completed her last paper.
The young girl had strange swellings in her left leg and persistent pain for several months, a state she had come to terms with in the hope it would finally go away.
However, when the pain became unbearable, her parents took her to hospital a few weeks to the KCPE examinations.
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“I took my daughter to Pandya Hospital and it was confirmed that she had bone cancer, which required urgent treatment. The doctors told me it could be done locally, which would involve the amputation of her leg or alternatively she could be taken to India for a specialised treatment,” said Josephat Mwangani Mutua, Kamanthe’s father.
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Mutua said he decided not to break the news to his daughter since it would have affected her performance in the examination.
Yesterday, Mutua carried his daughter shoulder high to Amani Primary School in Mikindani, Changamwe Constituency, in celebration of her achievement.
“It was so painful for me to see my daughter limping to and from school. When I couldn’t take it anymore, I offered to carry her on my back during the three days of the exam,” said Mutua. The family needs Sh3 million for Kamanthe to receive specialised treatment in India.
“I am a businessman but my little earnings cannot enable me to cater for my daughter's medical expenses,” he said, adding that donations could be sent to Paybill No 127506 under Mary Mutua Medical Fund.
Kamanthe wants to go to India for specialised treatment so she can be back in time to join Form One with the rest of students.
Her teacher Richard Nduva said she had always been among the top pupils. “Mary has been showing a lot of resilience and my appeal is for well-wishers to come on board and support her,” said Mr Nduva.
Kamanthe was just one of the many pupils from the region who weathered adversity to get to the top of the academic chart.
Arnold Deche, who sat KCPE at Imara Academy in Kilifi's Mtwapa, suddenly lost his father days to the examination. Besides the sudden death of his father, Arnold, whose mother is physically challenged, weathered abject poverty. He managed 421 marks.
Similar stories were told in Leads Group of Schools, an institute within Jomvu slums in Mombasa that posted remarkable results, with seven of the 38 candidates scoring 400 marks and above. The school had a mean score of 375. Hawa Mjomba, from the school, got 428 marks.
Most pupils at the school are children of local labourers and had problems paying school fees, according to the school's principal Elizabeth Nafula.