The Nkesiga Cancer Foundation was birthed in the year 2016 by AAR Insurance led by the General Manager Mr. Trevor Ariho in partnership with Rev Canon Diana Nkesiga and the Nkesiga family. A self-motivated working committee of robust and passionate members, which included youth, adults, seniors and children, responded to our call to fight cancer and brought the foundation to life in memory of Rev. Dr. Solomon Nkesiga.
Rev Dr Nkesiga was Anglican priest, who at the time of his passing served as Deputy Vice Chancellor of Bishop Stuart University. Dr. Solomon succumbed to cancer of the gall bladder in March 2015, only nine months after his diagnosis. The thought that this could happen to one who had access to every medical care possible spun us into action, for like AIDS we need to fight cancer from every angle.
The slogan, ‘stronger together against cancer’, drove the launch and awareness campaign. Young children wore and aggressively sold T-shirts, wrist bands, badges, caps, and told everyone about the foundation and its activities. The youth went wild on social-media until we started getting phone calls from abroad asking us what this was all about. The UPDF, Uganda Police Force, Reproductive health Uganda, Hospice, AAR Health Clinics, Radio City, Power FM, the Association of Sickle Cells, Agapix and many more all joined as for the Family Cancer walk, the free Cancer screening and the Royal High Tea. It was evident that Ugandans who got to hear of it were ready to join the fight against cancer in whatever way possible and together we were able to raise UGX 36 million. During the 5 day screening drive six(6) unsuspecting persons were alerted and were referred for further investigations. Also since the Launch we have stood in the gap for about 22 children on the UCI ward when there was a scarcity of some of the therapy drugs between December 2016 and January 2017. We have spent about UGX 15 million to make sure children got their medication in time.
Our greatest pride has been 4 year old Emmanuel Mufuto, our first reason to celebrate. Emmanuel, who was battling acute myeloid leukemia has been declared cancer free and we had the privilege to pay for his last chemo therapy when his family had run out of resources.
Dr. Joseph Lubega has played a big role in opening our eyes to see what can be done to help save a child’s life with the meagre resources of this new foundation and we are thankful. Alice Barlow, the current Miss IUEA, is our champion for cancer awareness among the youth. Her choice to make cancer her number one cause kept us online voting every time it clocked midnight. We are so proud of the involvement of young people during the launch. Apart from our beauty contestant, Taibah International School raised UGX 653,000 amongst their fellow students. The youth designed the logos, T-shirts and the other memorabilia, which shows how truly compassionate Ugandans are, if given an opportunity to help.
Valentines, the day of love, celebrated throughout the world, took us to the children’s ward as others went out to wine and dine. The inpatient ward had about 30 children between the ages of 8months -18years. Brightly coloured, hearts, bangles, colouring books and crayons were handed out to each child as we prayed over each precious life. It was great to see the children’s eyes light up as even the feeblest child reached out for the balloons on lollipop sticks. Each caretaker received a pair of slip on plastic sandals to make them comfortable as they nursed their children. So much is possible if we stand together, Ugandans are generous people, all they need to know is that the people they work with are trustworthy and genuinely care for the people they say they want to help. The Nkesiga Cancer Foundation applauds the efforts of Rotary and other support organisations that have done a great work in the fight against cancer for we are stronger together against cancer!