When we (Dwight and Lynn) returned to Mozambique in September, Lynn was asked to assess Toni, one of the sponsored students in our program. He is a 14-year-old dedicated student who had become ill several months previous. His complaints were vague but his health was not improving. Some days were better, some not so good. We prayed, administered treatments we felt were warranted to address common illnesses in this context, and then we waited. By early November he had lost weight and developed swollen lymph nodes in his neck. We wrote a referral letter and sent him to see the doctor at our nearest hospital. Their diagnostics are limited to lab work–there is no x-ray, CT, or ultrasound. He was found to be anemic so was sent home on iron supplements.
We knew there was more to it than that, but we also knew that in country the help he needed was simply not available. So in consultation with friends and with funds that were graciously donated to his cause, we sent him (with Tomas, his dad) to neighboring Zimbabwe. There he saw a pediatrician and was admitted to hospital for tests. Lymph node biopsy revealed Hodgkin’s lymphoma with extensive abdominal lymph node involvement.
Our hearts sank. We knew this wasn’t news to God though, so we prayed. We prayed for healing and for wisdom to make the decisions Tomas, Toni’s father, and we would have to make about what to do next.
After many phone calls and conversations with doctors and Toni’s father, we knew he needed to go to Harare (Zimbabwe’s capital, even further away) to have further tests and begin treatment as soon as possible. This was a service available via the public health system that in turn receives cancer support for minors through an organization called Kid Care. We were so relieved this was even an option for him! Lymphoma in a young person is more responsive to treatment than in adults, so this was also welcome news. It was just all so far away for Toni’s family who lives in Mozambique.
By God’s grace, Toni’s uncle works in Harare as a police officer and is able to provide logistic support to Tomas, the family, and most importantly to visit Toni regularly. Due to shortages even in Zimbabwe’s health system, the hospital has already sent Daniel (Toni’s uncle) to pharmacies to look for the meds they do not have.
There are many things we do not know yet, but we do know that God is at work and has already done marvelous things to get Toni this far. A donation from a supporting church in Canada came at the perfect time to get this going and gave us the courage to take the next step.
Today Tomas came by and sat with Dwight poring over receipts we have to date.
They did their best to project the costs for the next 6 months. The estimated additional amount needed to cover Toni’s treatment (medicines and CT scan) is $2932.00 USD. This includes travel funds for Tomas to go monthly to Harare to see Toni for two days and it provides travel funds for Daniel (Toni’s uncle) to get to the hospital every other day to visit Toni and to search for meds as needed.
Please understand that we do not know yet the actual cost of medicines/chemo.
Health needs for students in our sponsorship program are normally covered. In cases like this however, where the cost is unusually high, we do need to raise additional funds.
Please join with us in prayer for Toni and this situation. If you would like to contribute to this need you can do so either by cheque (make out to S.A.M. Ministries Inc. and send in to our office), or give online. Online, choose “Mozambique child sponsorship” fund and in the message box state “Special medical assistance”. If giving by cheque, simply add a note with this information.
Interesting note about Tomas and Toni:
Tomas works for the mission on a contract basis building orphan homes and helps with other construction as well. He is currently working on kitchens for 3 orphan homes and will be continuing with this work while Toni is undergoing treatment. Tomas is also a musician/singer and has recorded CD’s locally. In September this year, he and Toni sang a song together calling people to confession and belief in God and in Jesus, His Son, who came to earth to save us all.
And that is just what this season is all about!