Woman faces July 5 deadline to save only child from deadly illness

Teresa Ndung’u

Teresa Ndung'u with her daughter Arianna Wairimu, who urgently needs a bone marrow transplant. 

Photo credit: Pool

What you need to know:

  • So desperate is the battle that the mother is offering her kidney for sale.
  • Teresa Ndung’u needs Sh6 million to facilitate her baby's treatment in India.

Teresa Ndung’u was elated when she had her first-born, Arianna Wairimu, some 11 months ago.

“When the nurses handed me the bundle, the first cry was thrilling,” she says. 

“Even with her eyes closed, I saw a mark of greatness, a girl I would spare no effort to bring up.”

Little did Ms Ndung’u know that barely a year to Wairimu’s first birthday, she would be fighting to save her life.

Arianna Wairimu

Baby Arianna Wairimu who urgently needs a bone marrow transplant. 

Photo credit: Pool

So desperate is the battle that the mother is offering her kidney for sale – never mind trade in human organs is illegal – if only it will help the child overcome a deadly medical condition.

She is expected to raise Sh6 million to facilitate Wairimu’s treatment in India. The girl requires an urgent bone marrow transplant.

Doctors say without the treatment, Wairimu might not live beyond July 5. 

“I’ve never imagined having that kind of money. But that is the figure doctors quoted. They added that the condition can only be treated in India,” she adds.

Ms Ndung’u says she noticed that Wairimu had a problem when she began losing appetite in October last year. 

Wairimu’s condition never improves despite a paediatrician prescribing iron and other supplements. 

Mother and child made regular visits to Coptic, Nairobi, Kenyatta National, Gertrude’s Children’s and Kenyatta University Teaching and Referral Hospitals.

Then a check-up at one of the hospitals dropped the bombshell.

“Bone marrow failure syndrome, also medically known as bone marrow hypoplasia. Her red and white blood cells as well as the platelets continue to decline. Patient be put on scheduled blood transfusions but bone marrow transplant urgent,” the diagnosis on Wairimu’s medical card reads. 

The girl had her first blood transfusion in November and has had several more. 

Says Dr Onesmus Mwaura from the Ministry of Health: “Bone marrow failure syndrome is either inherited or acquired and can be treated through blood transfusion, boosting of blood cells production or bone marrow transplant.”

He adds that Wairimu’s case is urgent “since she has become reliant on blood and platelet transfusions”. 

“From November 2023, the child has had seven blood and three platelet transfusions,” the doctor says.

“The urgency of her transplant is informed by the fact that excess transfusions can complicate the impending procedure due to antigen issues, given that her haemoglobin levels have reached a point of demanding transfusions every two to three weeks.”

Inaction is too tragic to comprehend.

Ms Ndung’u says the diagnosis made her feel like she had lost everything.

Teresa Ndung'u

Teresa Ndung'u with her daughter Arianna Wairimu, who urgently needs a bone marrow transplant. 

Photo credit: Pool

“The biggest moment of motherhood has turned into a nightmare,” she says.

After the diagnosis, she realised there was no time for self-pity if she had to save her only child.

“I composed myself on realising that the clock was ticking towards the deadline. I looked at my daughter and imagined her lifeless. That thought was terrifying,” she says.

She says the Sh6 million bill “made me dizzy”.

“As a staunch Christian, I uttered a prayer to God, beseeching him to make a way and live true to his promise that he cannot give me a cross too heavy to bear,” she says. 

Desperation pushed her to contemplate engaging in an illegality.

Ms Ndung’u says got information about kidney buyers. 

She claims to have found an individual willing to purchase her kidney for Sh1.5 million.

Well-wishers raised Sh1 million that she and her daughter used to fly to India.

The two arrived in India on May 17, with Wairimu being admitted to Fortis Memorial Hospital on May 29.

“The big question now is how to raise the remaining Sh3.5 million for my daughter to undergo bone marrow transplant ahead of the July 5 death sentence,” Ms Ndung’u says.

Contributions can be sent to Paybill 522533, account 7834867 (Baby Arianna Medical Fund). M-Pesa number is +254720 677064.