These days, Samwel (pictured above) spends his days doing what most healthy 14-year-old boys do in Tanzania: he goes to school, plays football at recess and does his chores. Samweli and his mother, Martha Onesimo, enjoy these moments, smiling as they go about their normal routine. They cherish this routine because things haven’t always been this way.
When Samweli was diagnosed with Burkitt’s lymphoma (BL), everything changed. Martha worried all the time. Samweli wondered if he would ever play football again.
In children, BL commonly grows in the form of a large tumor in areas where permanent teeth are forming, which means it can be mistaken for a common toothache. These disfiguring tumors grow quickly and can be fatal. Thankfully, Martha was able to get Samweli to a clinic quickly, and was given life-saving treatment.
Children in Tanzania continue to suffer from this largely preventable disease, many because treatment is too far or too expensive to access. You’re changing this reality.