Grace Gichuhi, Cancer survivor
“My first encounter with Faraja was when it had just started in February . The people I met there on arrival were overwhelmingly generous and kind. The life experiences of Shaira, a cancer survivor, rejuvenated my hopes. I am most grateful to Dr. Adamali and Shaira for the support they gave me during that initial crucial moment.
Since then, I have been a regular visitor to Faraja, mostly on Wednesdays and Fridays. I had Reiki with the Lotus Seva Healing Group led by Kamal Tolia. The first time the ladies prayed for me, I walked out feeling cheerful and encouraged. On Fridays I attend the Movement sessions with Elaine, which have made my body relax and become more flexible. The wonderful moment here is relaxation with soothing music after the exercises. The mind experiences lots of peace.
Faraja offers crucial facilities for those affected by cancer. There is a need now to increase awareness of what it offers.” [July 2010]
Vikaash Pattni, Son of a cancer patient
“My Mum was diagnosed with her fourth cancer in March 2010. She first got cancer 22 years ago, when I was only a few months old. When we first heard about Faraja in 2009, she had almost recovered from lung cancer and she wanted to volunteer at the centre. Unfortunately she found out soon after that her mouth cancer had reoccurred.
She began to give up hope; it has been hard for us all. I have had to give up my job to look after my mum. It hit me that we should come to Cancer Care and Faraja and get some advice. We spoke to the staff and were given a lot of hope; we decided to try radiotherapy at Cancer Care and the complementary therapies offered at Faraja, and my mum has improved significantly since.
It has been very difficult for me emotionally and I have often felt incredibly lonely and helpless, but I have found the friendliness I need at Faraja. I used to accompany my mum for her therapies and the staff noticed how low I was and suggested that I come for counselling sessions with Nushka. My aunt, my mum and I each had individual counselling sessions and then we had one together. My mum and I also attended Suchinta’s Creative Holistic Integration classes. I feel so much more relaxed and positive now and this has uplifted my mum as well. I was advised to try to enjoy my life as much as possible and not be consumed by my mum’s illness, as well as to use my creativity to write about my life as her son. It has been a great way of getting my anger and sadness out.” [October 2010]
Salome Asibitar, Cancer survivor
“I came to Cancer Care Kenya to receive radiotherapy and was informed about Faraja and came to take a look. Once there, I was greeted and welcomed by the volunteers and staff and was taken through everything that is offered at Faraja, which included the complementary therapies. I found a new sense of hope there, and it felt like a “home away from home”.
I benefited from all the therapies I attended like Reiki, movement, counselling, but mostly from the nutrition session I had with Smita. At the time, I had a loss of appetite and Smita gave me some solutions for this which really helped.
I also had the chance to interact with volunteers and patients who shared their personal experiences with me and encouraged me to not lose hope. I would totally encourage other cancer patients to come to Faraja for assistance, support and encouragement because Faraja gives a new meaning of life to the hopeless.
Finally, I’d like to thank the entire Faraja team for all its support and compassion and I hope you keep it up!” [March 2011]
Anne Kimani, Cancer survivor
“I am 23 years old and a breast cancer survivor. I was diagnosed with breast cancer early in 2010 while expectant with my first-born Reagan, who is now 5 months old.
While going through surgery and chemotherapy, I was advised by my oncologist that I needed to go for radiotherapy for which I was referred to Cancer Care Kenya. As soon as I began the 25-day treatment, I was introduced to Faraja by one of the staff at the centre. I visited the facility and was introduced to a variety of services they offered on a complimentary basis to cancer patients. I felt like the services catered to patients’ emotions, which I found was a fresh approach.
So far I have managed to attend several movement and Reiki classes, and a nutrition session, with more therapies booked for before I finish my radiotherapy treatment. For the therapies I have attended, I have really benefitted from movement and nutrition, not forgetting group sessions where cancer survivors meet and share their experiences on their battle with cancer.
I thank Faraja because when I was diagnosed with cancer I remembered a story that was in the daily paper a few years ago about a young lady who was diagnosed with the same three years ago when she was 19 years old, and I really wanted to meet her but I didn’t know how. I was so fortunate that when I attended the group session, I found this lady who had also attended the same session.
I would really recommend Faraja Cancer Support to other cancer patients and survivors because there you realize that you have a future full of life. You experience relief from all the stress you get from talk of the illness. You also get to learn more about the disease from a variety of resourceful materials available at Faraja for free!” [March 2011]
Anne Vaughan, Cancer survivor
“A month after surgery at the Aga Khan Hospital for a malignant breast tumour, I was referred to the Cancer Care Centre for an assessment and a programme of radiotherapy treatment. It was during my first visit to the new Cancer Centre that I was taken upstairs and introduced to Faraja. I was shown around and introduced to the personnel and was made aware of the facilities available, all of which I was welcome to partake in.
Faraja was to become a lifesaver for me, and for many others. I always found it welcoming and a peaceful place to be. I have enjoyed many cups of tea whilst relaxing and resting after radiotherapy treatments, talking to both personnel and co-patients when I did not feel like rushing outside. I have met many friendly people and shared experiences both with co-patients from Kenya and from neighbouring countries.
We are extremely fortunate to have this new facility available to us in Kenya. It was a great bonus to be able to partake in and enjoy all the facilities and complementary treatments on offer to patients. Nutrition was extremely useful; massage relaxing and restful; and the breathing exercises, Reiki and other healing were indeed most beneficial.
I would recommend Faraja to all other patients, for its ambience, help and education in the form of videos and literature. Mostly I just enjoyed having a place to go for a while each day, rather than just finishing my appointment and having to dash out to the car.” [March 2011]
Mary Wambui, Cancer survivor
“I was introduced to Faraja Cancer Support by other survivors in 2010. Since then I have been coming in and I have really appreciated all the services. The support, compassion and approach of the volunteers and therapists have all made me a happier person. When I am at Faraja, my illness is the last thing on my mind.
I have undergone several treatments for lymphatic drainage with Ayala for my advanced lymphodoema on my right arm, and the therapy has really helped reduce the swelling and pain. Ayala has also been very helpful to me; while she was performing a treatment on me, she noticed a swelling on my neck and informed me and requested that I seek immediate assistance, and Shaira was kind enough to arrange for an oncologist to see me at the centre. I was sent for a scan and then radiotherapy.
I have already started encouraging other patients at home and when I go for my clinics and check-ups at Kenyatta hospital to come to Faraja and benefit from all that they do.” [March 2011]
Chrispin Kairu, Cancer survivor
“Faraja Cancer Support is a really nice place. The physical exercises they provide for the patients have been very valuable to me. When I began attending the movement classes five weeks back, I felt my body grow fitter and I also practiced the exercises at home. Many of us do not take much time in bed to rest and the relaxation and meditation techniques taught during the movement classes have helped me to relax and take some time out for myself.
I have also really benefitted from the nutrition session I had. I used to consume milk, eggs and red meat. But since I met with the nutritionist, I feel a lot better as I now have a balanced diet.
Faraja’s staff is kind and they give patients the hope of recovery. I would recommend Faraja to other cancer patients so that they too can be advised on a proper diet, become a little more active and maybe even have a massage at the end of it all.” [March 2011]
Helen Etemesi, Cancer survivor
“I have been attending activities at Faraja since it started. I went through breast cancer treatment in 2007 so I knew the benefits of a cancer support group. However, I had not experienced it in the way that Faraja is organized and managed, with perfect logistical support.
There are programs for exercise, diet, Reiki, massage, and others. Due to time constraints I settled for the movement class on Thursday 5-6pm that is run by Sadhna. It was my first time to take such a class. It is a gentle type of yoga with emphasis on breathing, physical posture, strength building with a little meditation and relaxation. I started to feel the benefits right away and I can practice them at home. Most of us start off being quite stiff in the initial stages. However, Sadhna always reminds us that it is most important to listen to your body and not push it beyond its limits.
I have also attended the regular support group meetings where patients and survivors share their experiences. I felt welcome and supported and there is no pressure to share.
I would like to acknowledge my gratitude to Shaira for her courage and efforts in putting this centre together, the volunteers at the desk who always send me reminders of classes and activities and encourage me to go, and to Sadhna, for her great dedication, patience, time and generosity in giving us such a wonderful class.
I would encourage everyone who is going through cancer treatment to visit Faraja. They will be glad they went.” [March 2011]
Doris Okello, Cancer survivor
“I was diagnosed with breast cancer in October 2009. Following a mastectomy and chemotherapy, I was referred to Cancer Care Kenya for radiotherapy. I learned about Faraja Cancer Support in my first week of treatment. I met the staff who was very accommodating. They talked me through their various complementary therapies, such as Reiki, body massage and movement to mention a few. I also got a lot of literature from the books in their library on how to live positively as a breast cancer survivor.
Faraja has consistently provided these services free of charge. They engage talented, highly competent professionals who are extremely friendly. I personally enjoy these services, which I have been encouraged to practice in my everyday life. Now, I love doing yoga regularly. I have nothing but good things to say about Faraja Support Centre and I strongly recommend them for any support they can get from any well wishers.” [March 2011]