Video: A 2 year old’s fight with cancer-The story of Zee Kimotho
Visiting the Kimotho household in Wylie, Texas, you are immediately greeted by a bubbly little girl who at first seems shy but warms up quickly. She gazes curiously at me before asking for my name.
She repeats my name over and over again before clinging to my leg. We immediately strike a chord.
The little girl is Zarah (Zee) Njeri Kimotho. She is two years old.
She was born to Virginia Kimotho, a Registered Nurse and Joseph Kimotho, a former Army Sergeant and an Iraq War Veteran who was stationed in Mosul in 2005, and honorably discharged in 2007.
On this afternoon, Zee and her sister Samantha Kimotho run after a ball kicking it to each other across the backyard. Their parents join them taking turns to kick the ball to each girl. They miss Zee’s older sister Cindy who is away on her church youth trip.
Zee is beaming widely. After all it’s playtime.
Looking at Zee however, one cannot fail to notice that the little girl is different. She is a little frail but still full of energy. Unlike other two years old girls, she has no hair. Her story begins to unfold.
Though on this afternoon Zee is full of energy, her parents know that this is a rare moment. They tell me that this is the best I will see her.
Zee is suffering from Neuroblastoma, a rare type of childhood cancer that develops in infants and young children.
Her ordeal started on January 28th, 2013, when on this night, she started complaining of stomach pains. Her parents rushed her to Children’s Medical Center of Dallas where an orange size mass was discovered in her abdomen.
She had surgery on January 30 to remove the mass and a bone marrow biopsy and it was at this point that it was discovered that cancer had spread to her bone marrow as well as in her bones.
She was prescribed six rounds of chemotherapy, stem cell collection and finally a bone marrow transplant.
At the end of the chemotherapy sessions, she will have no bone marrow left in her system but the doctors will inject new ones using her own own stem cells. This will be followed by a number of weeks in hospital.
Due to these extensive treatment, Zee has seen her share of hospital visits. She is supposed to spend a set number of weeks away from hospital but that sometimes never materializes.
“We spend sometime in the hospital and we get about two weeks to stay at home,” Mrs Kimotho says. “Sometimes she gets really unwell and we have to rush her back to hospital even at night.”
Zee’s mum says that one of her biggest frustrations is having to watch Zee crying to her in pain as if asking her to stop it but she cannot do it.
“Sometimes when she is in pain and she is crying, she looks at me as if asking me to stop it,”Mrs Kimotho says. “It is agonizing as I know there is nothing much I can do as her mother.
As for Mr Kimotho, he misses having Zee everywhere they go.
“I miss going with Zee to her favorite places like swimming and to the park.” Mr Kimotho says. “Due to her illness, it is not possible to go out with her all the time like we used to due to risks of opportunistic infections.”
To meet Zee’s medical costs, the family is faced with a budget of $200,000. The amount is an uphill battle for the family as Zee’s mum had to quit working to take care of Zee.
In addition, Zee’s oldest sister Cindy who is still in college has also stopped working to also help out.
To assist the family is meeting this challenge on the road to Zee’s recovery, a Facebook campaign has been launched and a website where well wishers can make their contributions has been set up.
The Facebook campaign is https://www.facebook.com/istandwithzee and the website where you can donate to the cause is https://www.giveforward.com/fundraiser/tp52/zeescancertreatmentfund
The Kenyan community in the DFW area is organizing various activities and a fundraiser to help offset the medical costs.
The organizing committee assisting in raising funds for Zee’s medicals costs is selling Tee-shirts labelled “I stand with Zee to fight cancer” and you may buy these tee-shirts this coming Sunday after your Sunday services in your place of worship.
The tee-shirts may also be circulated by other committee members and you may also be able to purchase them at other vantage points when available.
One purchase point is at Afrika Fusion, a Kenyan restaurant in Dallas located at the corner of George Bush and Haverwood.
A fundraiser will also be held on June 22, 2013 at Upendo Baptist Church beginning 2pm to 9pm. The afternoon will include fun activities for kids with the main fundraiser taking place from 6pm through to 8pm. The address to the church is 916 N. Jupiter Rd, Garland, TX 75042.
Attendees are encouraged to if possible, wear the “I stand with Zee to fight cancer“ tee-shirts they will have purchased.
By ANTONY KARANJA