Retinoblastoma is the most common pediatric eye tumor in the world. The Serge team at Kibuye Hope Hospital routinely diagnoses one new case per week.
In developed nations, nearly 100 percent of these children survive with modern treatments.
Until the team began treating Retinoblastoma in the spring of 2017, 100 percent of Burundian children suffering with this disease died. There were no exceptions. That’s not all–they died in one of the most horrific ways imaginable.
At first, parents might notice that their child’s eye has a white pupil. As the tumor grows inside the eye, the eye pressure skyrockets and becomes excruciatingly painful.
Untreated, the tumor eventually erupts through the wall of the eye and grows into a giant, fungating mass protruding from the child’s face.
All the while, the tumor is also growing deep behind the eye into the brain and can begin metastasizing to other organs.
It is a most unmerciful, undignified death sentence.
Because Retinoblastoma is so aggressive, it is also quite sensitive to chemotherapy. In addition to chemotherepy and surgery, other treatments such as cryotherapy, intra-ocular, and intra-orbital chemotherapy are also given.
It takes a large, capable team to effectively and safely coordinate this level of care.
By God’s grace, the Serge team in Kibuye is making history. Never before has chemotherapy been used to treat cancer of any kind in the nation of Burundi.
The results are amazing. Children who arrive at Kibuye on death’s doorstep in excruciating pain and misery, are up and playing after just one round of chemo. For many, we hope they will go on to live wonderful, productive lives. Yet even for those kids who we encounter with an advanced stage of the disease who may not survive, the care we offer restores their dignity and gives them a quality of life that their families never dreamed possible.
The team can provide one round of treatment for a child plus all transportation, food, and lodging costs (for them and their caregiver) for just $100 dollars per cycle.
They would like to expand our program by employing a program coordinator ($3,000/yr), increasing our Retinoblastoma ward capacity form 6 beds to 30 beds ($15,000), purchasing Transpupillary Thermotherapy laser capabilities ($20,000) and developing promotional videos and other materials ($2,000).
We are grateful to be able to deliver this care and grateful for our partners who make this possible.
Please consider giving the gift of hope with a one-time contribution or helping the program long-term by becoming a monthly, life-giving sponsor.