I read a blog sometimes called Diaspora Messenger. It's an interesting blog, I use it to find out whats going on in Kenya and use it once in a while, I was looking at it today and found this interesting story.
Stephen Gathi hopes that he will get one more chance to re-unite with his family in Kenya before he dies.
Gathi, 54, popularly known as Wasarah, to his friends and relatives, is a terminally ill cancer patient who lives in Lowell, Mass.
He relocated to the United States in 2001 and has not seen his wife and six children in more than eight years. Gathi’s doctor at Beth Israel Hospital in Boston, Mass., where he recently underwent an extensive eight-hour surgery, has given him only three months to live.
His final wish is to fly to Kenya to spend the rest of his life with his family.
Gathi is pleading with Kenyans in the United States to help him raise funds for his airfare.
“I have decided to go back home to pray with my wife and children,” he said, while displaying a document he received from his doctor at Beth Israel after the surgery, which explains his cancer.
Gastric cancer is the second leading cause of death worldwide and is often diagnosed at an advanced or metastatic stage. It generally has a very poor prognosis, and the mean survival of people suffering from it is 2.5 to 4 months.
Gathi also wishes to raise money to pay his skyrocketing medical expenses.
“I have medical insurance, but co-payments are rapidly adding up, and I am still undergoing treatment,” he said. Gathi has more than $15,000 in unpaid medical bills, he said.With no life insurance policy to support his loved ones when he is gone, Gathi is also worried about the fate of his two children who are still attending secondary schools in Kenya.
“I wish I had a real life insurance policy,” he said, adding that he has an accidental death and dismemberment life insurance policy with a local credit union, which will not compensate his dependants when he dies. Friends moved by Gathi’s plight have been frantically trying to figure out ways to raise funds to grant him his last wish. Gathi has also been personally seeking help from well-wishers and called AjabuAfrica last week to talk about his situation.
He presented his case to the Kenyan community last Sunday at an Easter Celebration at St. Stephen’s Church in Lowell.
The shocked congregation immediately held prayers for Gathi. They also plan to hold a fundraiser for him on Sunday at The Kenyan Community Presbyterian Church (Ushindi) at 450 Chelmsford St., at 1 p.m.
Bishop David Karaya, chairman of Kenya Pastors Fellowship in America introduced Gathi to the Kenyans, while Bishop Joshua Wambua of Rapture Harvest International presided over the prayers. Bishop Karaya encouraged Kenyans to come out in large numbers to support their brother. “Some things are hard to be told, but they must be told,” he said, as he introduced Gathi to the congregation. “It is our responsibility to help the man and his family, so let’s do all we can to raise the needed funds next Sunday at Ushindi.”
People who cannot make it to the event are encouraged to deposit their contributions to Gathi’s Bank of America account number 004626841526.
Gathi recently recounted his battle with the cancer to AjabuAfrica.
“I have been very healthy for many years and have never been on any medications,” he said, “but I started feeling nauseated every morning in Auguts last year, and I have never felt better since then.”
While at his job at Kindred Specialized Hospital in Waltham, Mass., where he served as a Certified Nursing Assistant, Gathi also experienced persistent heart burns for several days, forcing him to seek medical attention at Lowell General Hospital.
On January 29 Gathi was on his way to work when he felt very sick. He immediately changed routes and drove to Lowell General Hospital’s emergency room. Gathi was admitted at the hospital for five days.
On discharge, he resumed his job and tried to go on with his life as usual. But on February 22, he fell sick again at the end of his night shift at Kindred Hospital.
“I really vomited,” he said. “I don’t even know how I managed to drive myself back to Lowell.”
Since then Gathi’s condition has deteriorated to an extent that his stomach can no longer hold anything.
“I vomit everything I swallow, including water,” he said.
Gathi’s life has been a nightmare. Since January, he has spent a lot of time in hospital undergoing numerous tests.
He has also not been able to work for several weeks, leaving him in dire financial constraints. As a result, he has not been able to keep up with the ever-piling bills at his one-bedroom apartment at Jesus Is the Answer Church, where he occasionally serves as a pastor. He is currently staying with a friend in Lowell as he prepares for his final journey to Kenya.
Gathi, comes from Bahati location, Nakuru. His son, Nelson Gathi, lives in Seattle, Washington., and has temporarily moved to Lowell to help care for him.
Today Gathi’s son and his friends take turns shuttling him back and forth to doctors’ appointments. One such friend is Rose Muroki, who has accompanied him to several doctors’ visits.
“The news [of Gathi’s sickness] shocked all of us,” Muroki said.Rose has also been alternating as co- chair of the fundraising comitee together with Anne Kamau. Gathi said the news of his impending death hit him really hard, but he has found comfort in the Lord.
“I was shocked and afraid like any other human being facing imminent death,” he said.“But now I have the strength to accept the outcome, and I am not afraid to die anymore as I know that there is a name above all other names, and with God anything is possible.”
FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT
Nelson Gathi-206-2292160 Rose Muroki-978-866-5658Anne Kamau- 978-996-6712 Bank of America Details Stephen Mungai Gathi
Checking ACC # : 004626841526
Zip Code: 01852
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