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£1,870raised of £2,000 target by 32 supporters

Weʼre raising £2,000 to provide medical supplies to children with cancer in Tanzania

Solihull, Reino Unido

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Story

A child with cancer in the developed world can receive excellent care and treatment, but in places like Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, the children aren't so lucky. We're raising money to provide the Paediatric Oncology wards 'Upendo' and 'Tumaini' (meaning love and hope) with basic, yet crucial, materials and medications to give each child the best opportunity. They need a variety of items, from nappies and baby food formula, to medications such as antibiotics and anti fungal gels. Using the money raised we will buy the medications from a pharmaceutical company in Dar es Salaam, to donate directly to the Paediatric Oncology ward of Muhimbili National Hospital. There is also a hostel in the hospital where patients and their families can live in between treatments, so donations of food and clothing etc will also be made to this facility.

Any donation, however small, makes a huge difference.

My experience

Last summer, on my second spell volunteering in Tanzania, I spent time working on Upendo and Tumaini wards. Many of the children I encountered came from small villages hours away from the city. Their parents had to use all of their resources in order to travel to the hospital and pay for the treatment that their child desperately required. In Tanzania, when a patient needs a specific medication or bandage, it is usually the responsibility of their family to travel to a pharmacy, purchase the item and transport it to the hospital for its use. If they cannot afford it, they cannot receive the right care. In the hospital the wards are extremely crowded. The lack of space often results in children sharing beds. It is not uncommon for relatives to remain at the hospital during a patients stay which does little to ease the overcrowding issues. However, families are often forced to do this as they simply cannot afford to do the journey home inbetween visits.

Background to Z

One morning on the ward, we had been organizing the case history of a 14 year old girl called Z. We took our time to read through Z's illness and treatment history, beginning three years prior, when she first came to hospital aged 11. Her father was an agricultural labourer with very little money and three other children. Two of them had sadly passed away, with undiagnosed and untreated cancers.

In 2014, Z had been originally treated for Burkitt's Lymphoma, when she noticed a swelling in her abdomen. With almost no money, children like Z aren't able to go to the doctor when they first notice something is wrong, and unfortunately it is usually too late by the time they reach a hospital. Z had been lucky this time, however, and was treated with Chemotherapy and sent home in remission.

My experience with Z

In the summer of 2017, Z was readmitted to hospital because of a swelling in her jaw. She had restarted chemotherapy the week that I met her, and despite the circumstances, Z was in good spirits and didn't like to complain. One morning, we had gone over to see her to check her vitals.

When we arrived at Z's bed, she was having difficulty breathing. She was trying not to make much of it, but clearly something was wrong. I took her hand as the doctor reclined the bed to lay her flat. Suddenly she stopped breathing altogether. The doctor started giving her mouth-to-mouth but her chest wasn't filling with air; she wasn't responding. There were no masks around, no oxygen, and no monitor to check her heart rate. The doctor ordered us to set up an antibiotic called meropenem, but we couldn't administer it because it was impossible to get a vein. Another doctor came to try and intubate her, but her airway was closed. I was asked to hold my fingers on her pelvis and keep hold of her pulse, whilst the doctors started to drain her chest and give mouth to mouth.

I felt her pulse.

That was the only way we knew that Z was alive. I tried to get a rough idea of the beats per minute but her pulse was erratic, speeding up and slowing down unpredictably.

Suddenly, I felt it stop.

Her heart had stopped beating and I was the only one keeping hold of it. I shouted that she had no pulse, so we stopped everything and started compressions. She still hadn't been intubated, and her chest was full of pus. We took it in turns trying to resuscitate her, taking breaks to give her two breaths and to quickly aspirate the liquid from her chest. Minutes and minutes had gone by but we still had no response. Z had died, and we couldn't bring her back.

There were 5 other beds in the room, with small children, parents and siblings. We'd put a divider around the bed to try and make it more private, but it was no use. Everyone had witnessed what had just happened. When the crowd around Z had disappeared, her father stood up and walked over to her. He had lost his daughter. He let out a deep cry.

That was the moment that I knew I needed to come back, and do what I could to provide as many supplies as possible. I wanted to stay longer at the time, but I had to go back to University. This summer I am going back to Tanzania, to the same hospital, bringing a few more people with me and hopefully a lot of resources - from nappies and baby food formula to antibiotic gels and other medications that patients simply cannot afford to buy.

Please help me to help people avoid the preventable consequences that Z, and many others like her, face every day in Tanzania. By providing resources to the hospital, we can dramatically improve emergency care and keep families together.

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Updates

4

  • Sophie Baldwin1 month ago
    Sophie Baldwin

    Sophie Baldwin

    1 month ago
    Update from the Page owner

    It’s been an amazing day! All the money raised is going directly towards paying for chemotherapy for children with cancer so they can be treated for free instead of not at all. Thank you so, so much for the donations. I really am so grateful

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  • Sophie Baldwin2 months ago
    Sophie Baldwin

    Sophie Baldwin

    2 months ago
    Update from the Page owner

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  • Sophie Baldwin4 months ago
    Sophie Baldwin

    Sophie Baldwin

    4 months ago
    Update from the Page owner

    Share this update to help us raise more

5 months ago

Sophie Baldwin started crowdfunding

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Page last updated on: 7/20/2018 10:46 AM

Supporters

32

  • Joshua Nancarrow

    Joshua Nancarrow

    Jul 20, 2018

    Incredible work and you really undersell yourself when you talk about it casually. Your facebook post made me snap into action, it's not a fortune but I hope it helps. From joshy x

    £10.00

  • Brian & Debbie

    Brian & Debbie

    Jul 19, 2018

    Well done Sophie - great cause.

    £50.00

  • Jennifer

    Jennifer

    Jul 16, 2018

    Good luck Soph!

    £10.00

  • Anonymous

    Anonymous

    Jul 16, 2018

    Well done!!!Its people like you that make it a better worldxxx

    £230.00

  • Anonymous

    Anonymous

    Jul 2, 2018

    A little Alegre help!

  • Michaela Connell

    Michaela Connell

    May 30, 2018

    Help some babies you kick ass doctor you ❤️

    £30.00

  • James Smith

    James Smith

    May 29, 2018

    Good luck Soph, you're great! My mum was very moved by Z's story. Classic Ritsy & Joanne x

    £100.00

Sophie Baldwin

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About the fundraiser
Sophie Baldwin

Sophie Baldwin

Solihull, Reino Unido

5th year Medical student, English, studying in Spain. I started Med school after volunteering in Tanzania. I knew that as a doctor I’d be able to make a difference; to provide a service to those who are unable to easily access and afford the healthcare they require

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