Mary Wangui Muigai

Five-year-old Mary was an ordinary, healthy, happy little girl. She loved playing, dancing and spending time with her beloved parents and siblings. But inside, a deadly tumor- Retinoblastoma was silently taking hold in her eye.

Retinoblastoma is an eye cancer that begins in the retina — the sensitive lining on the inside of your eye. It most commonly affects young children, but can rarely occur in adults.

First symptoms

At first, Mary’s mum Lucy thought it was just an eye infection which she treated at a local health center. But, after Mary started to experience extreme pain, redness of the eye and sensitivity to light, she began to worry.

She sought a second opinion at the same facility, which then referred her to Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) for further tests.


After one week of uncertainty, admitted at KHN, Lucy heard the words that would turn their world upside down. Mary was diagnosed with Retinoblastoma- cancer of the eye.

Mary was rushed into theatre where she began her treatment. The reality of what was happening began to sink in. Lucy struggled with the knowledge that, even with medication and hope for her daughter to recover, whether she would afford the cost of treatment. Lucy is an Early Childhood Development (ECD) teacher while her husband is a mason.

It was definitely going to be a significant burden on the family.


Overnight, Mary and her mom became part of this terrifying and strange new world. Soon, Mary’s cheerful nature began to fade off. Their old carefree existence became a distant memory. From attending school, playing her favorite games, Mary was suddenly subjected to rounds of treatments including four rounds of chemotherapy.

Spending 2015 Christmas in Hospital

One month later, when most kids were counting days to Christmas, Mary was still in the hospital.

For other kids, Christmas meant buying gifts for friends and cousins and singing Christmas carols. For Mary, it meant preparing for another grueling treatment.

Toxic Treatment

Mary was in the hospital for about six months. Just five years old, she went through more than what most of us do in a lifetime. The effects of chemotherapy were adverse with bouts of vomiting, and low immunity put her down most days.

Mary’s Journey

Mary’s journey to recovery has not been an easy one. The financial burden, her special diet needs, and education curtailed. Her siblings had to miss school for some time due to lack of school fees. In spite of all these, Mary is a cancer victor. She managed to fight the battle and is now cancer free.

It's heartbreaking to know that many children die of cancer either due to lack of money or lack of proper diagnosis and treatment.

At Hope for Cancer Kids, we're on a mission to give hope for cancer kids. We pay premiums for National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) for kids from poor backgrounds for two years or need basis.

Help us save the lives of all children with cancer and eliminate their suffering (Donate Now). Find out more about how you can support us.

If childhood cancer has touched you, we'd love to hear your story Share your story

Photo for
It All Started with Blood Stains in his Urine. Morrison was diagnosed with stage 2 Kidney Cancer in ...
Photo for
Lemuel is four years old, but he is too mature beyond his years. Dressed in a petite combat suit, he...
Developed by: