Mariama* is 20. She is married, but she and her husband have no children. About six months ago she was diagnosed with choriocarcinoma, a cancer in her uterus.
At Niger's Galmi Hospital, run by Serving In Mission, chemotherapy is usually unaffordable for our patients. The cost of the drug cocktails, repeated hospital stays, laboratory work, travel expenses and other costs add up over several months.
Most of our cancer patients come from farming communities, in which what little money there is has to be stretched thin over large families. The hope of such expensive treatment is far out of reach for so many.
A year ago, Dr. Anne-Sophie Rowcroft, our Head of Obstetrics Services, returned to her home in Australia for six months to focus on recruitment, personal fund-raising and a little bit of rest and relaxation. But Anne-Sophie had another objective for her time: to raise funds to help supplement the high cost of certain treatable cancers.
She managed to raise around $60,000AUS (about £35,000) - an enormous gift of love to Mariama and our other patients with cancer. They provide the hope of physical healing. But physical healing cannot guarantee Mariama will be free from the emotional scars of her disease.
At Galmi, the aim is to heal the whole person, not just the body. And while we cling to the hope that the chemotherapy will cure her cancer, Mariama's story is unlikely to have a happy ending. In Niger, a woman's value and worth is directly related to her ability to have children, and this cancer will probably rob her of that possibility.
But the hope is that God will heal these heart-wounds too! The maternity ward chaplain meets monthly with Mariama to introduce her to Jesus, the great physician. Her doctor and nurses pray with her for miraculous healing, comfort and peace.
Would you join us in praying for Mariama and the other patients who are recipients of these new subsidised chemotherapy drugs?
*Mariama is a pseudonym used to protect her confidentiality. Her picture has been used with her permission.