Strive Masiyiwa| A few weeks ago, I went to see a doctor with one of my daughters. She is 22 years old. It was just the two of us. The doctor welcomed us both with real excitement: “Today is exactly one year since your remission. You are totally free of cancer,” the doctor announced. He was as excited as we were. My daughter and I shrilled with joy, and we thanked God profusely.
“How is school?”‘
“Well, I went back last September, and I will be graduating in a few weeks. And all my hair is back!”
God is good!
Later my daughter and I broke our fast and shared communion with the other members of our family, even those who were in other parts of the world.
My daughter is a cancer survivor!
It had been a year-long battle against a cancer known as lymphoma. We are a family of faith and we never doubted that we would beat this thing. My daughter is a mighty woman of faith even from when she was a child. It is how we trained our children.
It all started with my daughter saying she had a persistent dry cough. My wife insisted they go to the doctor immediately. She was found to have a tumor the size of a tennis ball in her chest!
My daughter had to suspend university for a year. Our whole family organized its life around her treatment. The other children were always taking turns to ensure continuous support. Above all, we prayed without ceasing.
Those who know my wife: #AfricanLionessRoar!
There were times during the treatment when our daughter slept every night in my wife’s arms. My wife never complained or cried in despair… Just prayed, encouraged, strengthened.
Our prayer partners and friends, including my daughter’s friends at her university, were absolutely amazing: God bless you all to eternity!
One day whilst we were in the middle of this battle, I got a call from the office of former US President George W Bush. He told me he’d followed my campaign against the spread of Ebola. He asked me if I’d be interested in a campaign to help stop the spread of a cancer called CERVICAL CANCER.
In all humility, we could not have stopped Ebola without the contribution of President Obama. Incidentally, he’s the one who had suggested to President Bush to approach me as part of a program of ambassadors to build awareness.
Until President Bush mentioned it, I had fleeting knowledge of cervical cancer but once I sat down to read about it, I was totally horrified:
# Along with breast cancer it’s the most common cancer in women around the world.
# In sub-Saharan Africa, more than 93,000 African women develop this cancer each year and an estimated 57,000 die.
# While cervical cancer is now (mostly) preventable and treatable (if diagnosed early)… it’s still the cancer that kills the most women in sub-Saharan Africa.
Now I did not always agree with President Bush and his policies when he was in office. That was not the issue. Here was something good! If someone comes to me with something good, I consider it on its merits. So I travelled to the US and met President Bush and his wife Laura, as well as then-First Lady Michelle Obama, to launch a campaign on awareness dangers of cervical cancer.
Thinking back to my daughter: It was the grace of God that she happened to be home from college in the US. I believe in healing and I also believe cures come from God, because anything good is of God; good medical care and treatment can only be from God.
To all the women on this platform: My dearest sisters, listen to me:
# Early diagnosis and regular check-ups are key. Get a check-up.
# In the case of cervical cancer, if you’re under 26 years old, you can even get the vaccine against the HPV virus that causes it. Get the vaccine.
# Tell your friends and family.
Don’t nurse pains and aches, or ignore abnormal symptoms in your body. That’s not brave!
# Go to a clinic and get it checked out. It could save your life.
And to all you men out there: Be concerned over your wives, daughters, sisters and mothers. Don’t be old-fashioned about issues concerning the health of women. Be engaged, knowledgeable and above all, totally supportive.
# Talk about these things! Women issues are life to us all.
Join us to stop cervical cancer amongst African women.
Strive Masiyiwa via Facebook