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When John Serut’s daughter asked Kenyans for help

The late John Serut and his daughter Michelle Serut. [File, Standard]

When Michelle Serut, 23, took to Twitter to make a financial appeal, all she wanted was to see her father get back on his feet.

Michelle is the daughter of John Serut, a former three-term Mt Elgon constituency MP, who was battling myeloma, a type of bone marrow cancer.

The late MP however succumbed to the disease today.

“Hey guys, so a lot of you don’t know me but I’m here requesting your help today. My father’s name is John Serut and he’s been unwell for a while now. He was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in January of 2020. Since then, we’ve had medical bills totalling Sh20 million,” Michelle, who goes by the name Chemoss on Twitter (@MishSerut), wrote on October 12, 2021.

Serut, 67, served as MP for Mt Elgon for two straight terms between 1998 and 2007. He lost to Fred Kapondi in the 2007 General Election but would reclaim the seat in the 2013 General Election. He lost the seat again to Fred Kapondi in 2017.

According to Michelle, the last-born in a family of five siblings, Serut started ailing in 2017 when he was still an MP.

“He would fall down and then, shortly thereafter, regain consciousness,” Michelle told The Standard.

Courtesy: Twitter.

That happened repeatedly for a while, prompting the then-lawmaker to seek treatment.

“Doctors who diagnosed him then said he was ailing from anaemia, which caused his recurrent fall,” said Michelle. “Dad was treated for anaemia. His condition improved, but only for a short time. In 2018, his health deteriorated, and he was hospitalised and treated for anaemia.”

In mid-2019, Serut’s condition worsened, prompting his family to seek an alternative diagnosis.

“One of dad’s friends recommended he consults a doctor at the Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH). It was that doctor who advised dad to take bone marrow cancer tests. Upon examination, results returned positive for myeloma,” she said.

Serut was admitted to KNH on December 27, 2019, and discharged in April 2020, said Michelle.

“While at home in Mt Elgon, his condition deteriorated again, forcing us to take him to the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital in Eldoret. There, he underwent chemotherapy after doctors discovered that the cancerous cells had increased significantly,” she said.

She said the chemotherapy triggered bleeding, which saw the family transfer him to a private health facility in Eldoret where he was in ICU, then HDU before being transferred to the normal ward.

He was discharged from the hospital in early June 2020 but continued with chemotherapy until October last year.

Late last year, he fell down, fracturing his hip. That wasn’t noticed until tests were conducted. It was then that doctors discovered that the impact of the fall had badly affected Serut’s hip bone, said Michelle.

“In January 2021, dad underwent a complete hip replacement at the Nairobi Hospital,” she said.

According to Michelle, Serut was in the hospital at least four times last year – February, April, June and August. In all these visits, he was admitted to the ICU, HDU and normal wards.

She said since her father was first diagnosed in 2017, they have spent a total of Sh20 million: “Insurance companies and my mum, Pamela, are the ones who have been footing the medical bills.”

According to the economics and statistics graduate, who works as a mathematician in Nairobi, the family’s finances are exhausted, leaving them with no choice but to turn to well-wishers for assistance.

“I grew up knowing my parents were rich. I never imagined we’d one day be in a situation where we would seek financial aid,” said Michelle.

According to Michelle, the medical bill kitty raised Sh283,000 against the Sh6 million target, in five days.

“Kenyans are kind. Some are sending Sh10, others Sh250, and you can clearly see that that’s the much they had in their mobile money wallets. That is selflessness, which has left me speechless,” she said.

Her appeal, however, attracted negative comments from Kenyans on Twitter who went down memory lane, talking about John Serut’s past.

Serut and Kapondi were adversely mentioned in the Mt Elgon violence witnessed between 2006 and 2008.

Neither was, however, convicted of any wrongdoings, with both vehemently denying any involvement in the skirmishes that resulted in the deaths of hundreds and the displacement of hundreds of thousands of people. ?