On June 3rd, 2020 Yere (pronounced like: 'year
'), one of our Omo's Morningstar
children, received shocking news after taking an X-ray to determine why she feels pain in her leg: Osteosarcoma
, bone cancer was the diagnosis.
Yere is a 11 year old Ethiopian girl and needs your help.
I started a GoFundMe
fundraiser to get donation for Yere's medical expenses. We did already several blood tests, X-rays, a biopsy, an evaluation by a surgeon, and received a referral to a specialist in Addis Ababa. There we will discuss if chemotherapy is required (very likely before and after surgery) and if amputation can be avoided (very unlikely).
Please pray for Yere and help her to pay the medical expenses in the hope that she can keep her leg, or at least her life!
UPDATE June, 15 2020: A miracle?
After another few days in the hospital we received the good news that no visible metastasis are detectable in Yere's lung, the cancer has not spread yet (let's wait for the CT/MRT results). This is a miracle considering that Yere has pain in her leg and is limping since more than a year.
|Yere's lung X-ray: no visible metastasis|
UPDATE June, 20 2020: Yere is in pain
Yere had to go to the hospital for few days to do some additional tests (more X-rays, blood tests, another biopsy, ...). Pain killer didn't work for her, no Tramadol or even Morphine. She was suffering for almost 24 hours. In 2 to 3 weeks we will know what type of tumor she has in her leg.
Please pray for Yere.
|Yere is in pain|
|Exhausted after medical procedures|
UPDATE June, 26 2020
My car is almost ready to get picked up after a 2 week repair in Jinka (engine troubles). Now finally I can visit Yere's parents and discuss with them about their daughter's medical conditions (bone cancer).
I fear they will refuse to send Yere to Addis Ababa for further medical treatment, including chemotherapy and most likely below-the-knee amputation - that would be the death sentence for Yere.
UPDATE July, 25 2020 Biopsy result confirms: osteosarcoma
After weeks of waiting the biopsy result finally was revealed. The diagnosis is as expected: osteosarcoma
, bone cancer.
My car is still not fixed preventing me to visit Yere's family to get permission for her medical treatment in Addis Ababa.
UPDATE August, 13 2020 The waiting continues
I am still waiting for my car being repaired - the never ending story.
Yere went back home to her family last week. Now I am waiting for her parent’s written approval that Yere can go to Addis Ababa to receive medical treatment to fight her bone cancer.
Her leg doesn't look very good.
UPDATE September, 09 2020 Things develop badly
After a four week school break visit Yere returned from her parents' home to OMC's Turmi children home. What a shock, the biopsy site was very swollen, obviously the cancer started to grow aggressively. Yere's mother came for a quick visit to confirm that all medical treatments needed would be OK as long as they would save her daughter. I bluntly told her that an amputation would be very likely, but that this wouldn't necessarily result in defeating the cancer. Unfortunately, my car - even though finally returned from its 2,5 months repair journey - is not in any condition to drive Yere to Addis Abeba. Flights to Addis are also only going rarely (due to Coronavirus restrictions) or being cancelled in the last minute and an ID card is required for Yere to fly, which is difficult to obtain without a birth certificate. More reason for the never endling delay of reaching Addis Abeba's hospital to provide proper treatment for Yere's bone cancer can be found here!
UPDATE October, 01 2020 Amputation
On 09-27-2020 we finally arrived in Addis Abeba, via a flight from Jinka. What an adventure for Yere, for the first time sitting in an airplane and being pushed in a wheelchair at the airports.
But what a disappointment – hospitals are in an obsolete
state, patients piling up everywhere, dirt (blood, pee, vomit) everywhere,
cockroaches crawling around and supplies are never available (and need to
be purchased at different pharmacies).
We went through three hospitals during the first day
and almost switched again the next day when once again nobody took care of Yere
(no wound cleaning, no dressing change, and no updates). Nevertheless, suddenly three blood transfusions were started (very bad Hb values: 7.6) and amputation scheduled for
the next night.
The first question Yere asked after waking up after surgery today was, ‘where is my leg?’. It was a heartbreaking day and it will take time for
Yere to learn that it was the best we could do to stop the further spread of her bone
cancer. A CT-scan will reveal if the cancer has spread into other organs and
based on that a chemotherapy might be started. A long way to go to potentially
defeat her cancer.
|My first flight ever ...|
|Waking up after amputation|
|Waiting for treatment in the hospital|
|More waiting in the hospital|
|Exhausting: 3 hospitals today|
|Waiting at the airport for a taxi|
|Yere's cancer is growing quickly|
UPDATE October, 8 2020 CT-Scan: metastasis!
Today Yere finally had her appointment for a CT-Scan. Unfortunately, as almost expected after having more than one year issues with bone cancer in her leg, she has several tumors in her lung (the X-ray gave us hope, but is simply not sensitive enough).
So, officially she has now stage IV bone cancer, which is the final stage.
|Lung metastasis (8 o'clock)|
|Lung metastasis (7 o'clock)|
UPDATE October, 12 2020 Two days of fun
Before chemotherapy started on October 13th I wanted to give Yere two days of fun and smiles. I think I succeeded.
Gifts and clothes:
Zoo visit (lion park and unity park):
|Addis Ababa's Unity park|
|Close encounter with an antelope|
|Yere enjoys the flowers|
|Close encounter with an ostrich|
|Throne room of prior monarchs|
UPDATE October, 15 2020 Chemotherapy
Chemotherapy started on October 13th. After spending 10 days in hospitals (blood transfusions, X-rays, amputation, wound healing, etc.) we spent another 4 days for chemotherapy treatment.
It came with all you can imagine (i.e., pain, vomiting, etc.). Terrible. Now Yere has three weeks off before another round of chemotherapy will start again.
|Chemotherapy medicine #1|
|Chemotherapy medicine #2|
|Turmi's Primary School|
UPDATE October, 22 2020 First school day
Yere is registered at Turmi’s Primary School. She is very proud going into 5th grade.
Unfortunately, Turmi’s streets are not good enough for her wheelchair (is there an all-wheel drive version?), so I have to drive her daily to school by car.
|Proud to be a student|
|Amharic exam: 6 out of 6, yay!|
|English exam: 2 mistakes :-)|
UPDATE October, 25 2020 Visiting family
Yere visited her family for the first time after leg amputation and chemotherapy. Very emotional, many tears, but also happiness. The mother didn’t expect to see her daughter again.
The father prayed and blessed us.
|Yere's father blessed us for our help|
|Yere's mother and father listen carefully |
to our report
|Yere's sister says hello|
|Many people from Yere's village came to say hello|
UPDATE October, 30 2020 Losing hair
Despite the physician's claim that Yere will not lose her hair, it started to happen today, bummer!
|Yere doesn't like to lose her hair|
|A beautiful girl even without hair|
|Frozen's 'Elsa' hair is great|
UPDATE November, 8 2020 Chemotherapy #2 and shocking prognosis
Once again we are in the Black Lion Cancer Treatment Center in Addis Ababa. But instead of starting chemotherapy #2 I was summoned to one of the oncologists. He informed me that it makes sense to give up on Yere, to send her home with only supportive care - to let her peacefully die. His prognosis was a maximum of 6 months life expectancy.
I was not ready for that. I couldn’t believe that he wanted to give up on her after only one chemotherapy without even doing another CT scan to check on Yere’s lung tumors.
Anyways, after sitting in the waiting area for a long time, not being able to hold back my tears, the oncologist must have changed his mind (thank God, see below). He was willing to try another chemotherapy and a subsequent CT scan result should decide what treatment options are appropriate.
To my surprise (communication is not a really a strength of this or any other hospital I spent time in) this round of chemotherapy required 7 days hospital stay, destroying any and all of my travel plans back to Turmi’s Children Home.
Anyways, Yere went through the procedures bravely and even the nausea wasn’t as bad as the first time.
|Thank you AB and TS for sponsoring |
a blanket, toys, hat, and clothes
|Yere, suffering through chemotherapy|
|Some of the medicine and medical equipment |
I have to buy daily for Yere’s treatment
|Constantly I get different kinds of medicine |
to fight my bone cancer and lung metastasis
As it is quite common for our flights (3 out of 4 were changed) our flight back was postponed by a day. Yere wasn’t happy about that. Once we arrived in Jinka my car repair hadn’t been done (despite being in the repair place for 10 days). So we had to stay another night and finally arrived the next day in our Children Home where we had a great welcome.
|Wow, that’s a big plane|
|Our favorite moment: |
back to our Children Home in Turmi
UPDATE November, 24 2020 A miracle - no more lung tumors (metastasis)
Once again we are in Addis Ababa for Yere’s cancer evaluation and treatment. Blood tests, an abdominal ultrasound, and a CT scan should reveal what treatment options are suitable for Yere’s bone cancer.
Based on my experience during our last trip and the oncologist’s recommendation to stop her cancer treatment and ‘simply’ let Yere die, I was prepared for the worst.
Nevertheless, I couldn’t believe when I saw the CT scan pictures and the radiologist’s assessment: all cancer nodules visible in Yere’s last CT scan (6 weeks ago) disappeared. No more visible metastasis in Yere’s lung. A miracle!!! Praise the Lord!
It was decided to continue with chemotherapy to ensure that all cancer cells in Yere’s body will be destroyed.
|CT scan result: |
no more visible metastasis in Yere’s lung
|Ultrasound result: everything is OK!|
|Yere is excited when she heard the news: |
no visible tumors in her lung!
UPDATE December, 4 2020: Yere ends up in a Health Center due to malnourishment
10 days post 3rd chemotherapy Yere was still not able to eat anything - just the thought or smell of food triggered vomiting. I had no choice and brought her to Turmi's Health Center for IV fluids/glucose. She also needs treatment for all kind of infections, parasites, etc. Obviously, Yere's immune system is weakened by the chemotherapy and allows all kinds of diseases attacking her.
I hope Yere will recover quickly - next week another trip to Addis is planned for her 4th chemotherapy and for the purchase of her leg prothesis (and subsequent physiotherapy to teach her to walk again).
It looks like glucose and peanut paste gave Yere enough energy to teach our bible story today:
|Yere is teaching about the lost sheep|
UPDATE December, 16 2020: Back in Addis Ababa: Chemotherapy #4 and leg prosthesis/physiotherapy
Yere recovered nicely, her blood values were stable for another round of chemotherapy. So we checked in for our 7 day stay at the Black Lion Cancer Treatment Center in Addis Ababa.
We also picked up crutches at Addis Guzo (thank you so much helping this girl from the Dassanech tribe to learn walking again), a Swiss NGO located in Addis.
|Yere‘s first steps on crutches|
|Meat for lunch to make Yere strong!|
At the Prosthetics Orthotics Centre I purchased a leg prosthesis for Yere (it was as easy as picking up a bar of soap in the supermarket). After taking measurements the artificial leg was ready for fitting the next day.
|Measuring Yere‘s leg for making her prosthesis|
|Preparing Yere‘s artificial leg|
|Putting on the first time Yere‘s new leg|
|Yere‘s first steps on her artificial leg|
|Yere‘s reward for doing a good job walking|
Now, Yere goes through chemotherapy in the morning and physiotherapy (to learn walking) in the afternoon - a demanding program.
Special donations for Yere
(medical expenses to treat her bone cancer )
GoFundMe campaign (https://www.gofundme.com/f/yere-needs-her-leg)
If you want to help to cover some of the medical expenses for Yere's cancer treatment please use any of the donation options below, including our GoFundMe campaign:
Thank you - God bless you!