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Strong-willed dad battling to save little Princess from terminal illness

A Nairobi man is battling to save the life of his only daughter whose illness doctors say has a 25-30 percent chance of cure.

The man has already spent Sh 3 million and sold all his property in the hope that his four-year old daughter will someday be Leukemia free.

Princess Josephine Macharia was diagnosed with blood cancer in September 2014 having struggled with swollen lymph nodes and stomach for five months.

It all began in May 2014 when Princess was aged three. She started having difficulties in feeding and her activeness at school declined.

She was taken to hospital and after examination doctors discovered that she had low blood count and put her on blood boosters.

After weeks of medication, she developed swellings around the neck and was taken to the Kenyatta National Hospital where tests were run in vain.

Her father, Julius Macharia, opted for a discharge after three months when health workers went on strike.


The 36-year-old sought treatment at St Mary’s Hospital where lymphatic tissues were obtain for tests whose results were never disclosed.

“After staying at the hospital for a month and paying Sh 68, 000 I ran out of money and my daughter was discharged,” Mr Macharia recounts.

The former salesman took Princess back to KNH where by now health workers had resumed work.

In September 2014, little Princess was diagnosed with Leukemia and started chemotherapy and radiotherapy sessions after she eventually went back to being her bubbly self as she continued with her treatment.

With time Mr Macharia’s income could no longer pay for the sessions and he organised for a fund raiser in which Sh 338, 000 was contributed.

The money was used to pay for the sessions and the required medication that was not available at KNH.

“Princess was on a special diet and required medication after chemotherapy some that we had to buy outside the hospital at higher prices,” said Mr Macharia.


Princess Josephine Macharia with her mother Caroline Mukiri before she was diagnosed with Leukemia. PHOTO | COURTESY

In November 2014, he lost his salesmanship job as his employer felt he was distracted, thus unable to bring money to the company.

“I remember I once saw a call from my wife while driving (company vehicle) and I stopped at a roundabout to pick it fearing for the worst news. I was hit by an oncoming truck but I emerged from the accident unhurt,” he narrated.

He sold his 50 x 100 plot in Kirinyaga road for Sh 750, 000, part of which he used to settle hospital bills. He invested the rest of it in a hotel business at Githurai area.

“I settled on hotel business as I had done a catering course in the past and I managed to run the business for three months before it started doing poorly because we overburdened it with bills and upkeep,” said Mr Macharia.

In March 2015, additional tests on Princess revealed that Leukemia cells had multiplied and doctors said it had replaced and was not responding to treatment.

Since by then Mr Macharia’s business was still operational, he financed a fresh induction of Leukemia that involved fresh tests and new chemotherapy sessions.

But to his disappointment the cancer relapsed again in July. At that point KHN linked the family to an Indian hospital that quoted Sh 9.5 million.

Mr Macharia searched for cheaper options through an agent and secured an admission at Artemis Hospital in India that quoted Sh 6.5million.


Princess Josephine Macharia at Artemis Hospital in New Delhi, India. PHOTO | COURTESY

When his business finally closed down in August 2015, he organised a series of fundraisers and managed to raise Sh 1.8 million, an amount he topped up with soft loans and the sale of his catering equipment to Sh 2 million.

Last month, his wife and daughter left the country for New Delhi, India where they have been since.

The money that had been raised was used for transport and chemotherapy sessions that are required to run for two months before the bone marrow transplant is done.

On Saturday, the family received a letter from Artemis Hospital indicating that Sh 4.7 million was required for the remaining chemotherapy sessions and transplant.

On Wednesday, Princess called his father using her mother’s phone and reassured him that she will live.

“She has a strong personality and when she called she told me not to worry ‘Daddy, sitakufa’ words that keep me going despite the challenges,” said Mr Macharia.

The family is now appealing to well-wishers to donate through Paybill number 563 596 then enter their (the donor’s) personal ID number as the account number.

The paybill is registered under Princess Josephine Medical Fund.

Those donating through the bank can deposit funds to account number 0710164375127, name Princess Josephine Medical Fund at Equity Bank Githurai 45 Branch.