To many people in Ferdinand’s community, Ferdinand is a walking miracle. He’s the reason many of them have changed their views on cancer and cancer treatments.
10 months ago, Ferdinand was unable to even walk. He had to quit his job as a purchasing officer due to severe pain in his lower back and an inability to perform the duties of his job. After some initial scans, Ferdinand was sent to KCMC for further evaluation. More scans were done, which showed an abnormality in his lower back. He was admitted to KCMC for further tests, blood work, and a minor operation, all of which revealed a diagnosis of Multiple Myeloma – a type of cancer formed by malignant plasma cells.
Ferdinand was referred to the Cancer Care Centre and advised to start on treatment right away. His family knew the importance of starting treatment, but also knew this came with high-cost medications, in addition to transportation for frequent clinic visits.
Like many Tanzanians, Ferdinand was torn between using the local herbal medicines or the western medicine offered at the Cancer Centre. He decided on trying local herbs, but after only a month, returned to the Cancer Centre for chemotherapy. His treatment regimen consisted of coming to clinic every three weeks for his chemotherapy, for a total of eleven cycles.
Due to the high cost of treatment, his family and community organized a meeting to discuss supporting Ferdinand in his fight. Together, the community raised money for one of his costly chemotherapies, costing more than $60 per medication, per cycle; they continue to support him with their fundraising efforts. Without the help from his family and community, his treatment would not have been possible.
After only a few months of treatments, it was evident that Ferdinand was moving in the right direction, both in his treatment and in his body, He was feeling good, with little to no side effects, and was even starting to have less pain with movement. Today, he’s doing exercise and is now able to walk several meters. People are amazed to see the progress he has made in only a few short months!
Ferdinand feels like his mission is simple: “God rescued me, so now I will rescue other people”. As a courageous fighter, Ferdinand is ready to use his story to educate and bring awareness to others in his village. He intends to spread his message: see a doctor with the first signs of symptoms, instead of using the local medicines. He has seen too many people dying due to their lack of seeking a doctor and receiving proper treatment.
Already, Ferdinand has started to make a difference. People don’t see a man who is in pain and unable to stand, bend or move around anymore – they see a man who’s on his feet, full of life, and full of hope. And slowly, but surely, they are coming around to his message.