Where cancer patients knit themselves out of stigma and rejection
SEE ALSO :Sh6.5b hospital 'delayed' by StateShe lost self-esteem, and would lock herself up in the house due to the stigma. “I kept to myself and grew weaker each day. In only shared with a few friends about having been diagnosed with cancer,” says Wanjiru. One day as she walked to the oncology department at the Rift Valley Provincial General Hospital in Nakuru for a chemotherapy session, she met a group of women who were uncharacteristically happy despite being cancer patients. The women introduced her to their organisation, Uzima Foundation, took her under their wing and gave her the much-needed solace. It is all Wanjiru needed, her self-esteem soon began to improve. “It had taken me long to accept my condition, especially after having my breast removed. I had low esteem but was overjoyed when I met individuals who I could relate with,” she says. Uzima Foundation is a cancer association group established in February this year, with a membership of about 60 women. It’s main aim is to support women living with cancer. Of the 60 members, at least 40 are individuals diagnosed with breast cancer, majority of whom have undergone mastectomy.
SEE ALSO :American runner Grunewald diesThe group knits temporary prosthesis using locally sourced materials. The prosthesis are distributed among women who have undergone mastectomy. Wanjiru says before she joined Uzima Foundation, she would wrap together rags and wear in place of her breast. At the group, however, she was given a prosthesis and she soon regained her confidence and self-esteem. Sarah Muchiri, a member of the group, says a number of women get dejected after undergoing mastectomy. “We formed the group to support a number of women who were silently dying of cancer and give hope to those who face stigma and rejection from society,” says Muchiri. Traumatising
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