Woman who broke street child’s heart needs Sh7 million for treatment to help her breathe

For Gladys Kamande, she would do anything to breathe the oxygen we take for granted daily.

Breathing for the woman needs an oxygen concentrator, two oxygen gas cylinders, a generator and a white cane.

Gladys carries all these wherever she goes because she entirely depends on them.

It costs a fortune for Gladys to breathe in and out.

The courageous woman’s lungs have collapsed and as if that is not enough burden for one person to bear, she has turned blind as well.

But to get here, a street child had to be involved.

It is not ordinary for a street child-often referred to as street urchins- to make news unless it is bordering on the bizarre. These outcasts live on the edge and are oft-known to have no feelings.


Back to Gladys.

She says that she came to Nairobi and settled in Mwiki, Kasarani with her husband in 2000 after the birth of her first born child in 1999.

“I got pregnant again in the same year but due to complications, I was operated on and they found out that it was ectopic. I lost the pregnancy,” she says.

She had five more pregnancies after that and the result was the same.

“I was not lucky to carry pregnancy to full term due to one reason or another.”

Gladys reveals she was in an abusive relationship and one time her husband hit her on the stomach when she was pregnant. She started bleeding and he asked her not to tell anyone. She had to have an abortion and also undergo another surgery because something was left in the womb during a previous operation.

A few months later, the complications returned.

“My mother recommended a specialist who said I had to get an X-ray to determine once and for all what was ailing me. Shortly after, he told me that my appendix was the problem. I had to be operated on for the yet another time.”

This notwithstanding, she had to occasionally encounter frustrations from some of her relatives.

“There was a time my sister in law visited me in hospital and asked why I had not died yet the mortuary was waiting for me… After some time I got pregnant and carried it for about six months. During a routine screening, I was informed that the baby had died in my womb. I started dying slowly inside,” Gladys says.

The vegetable vendor then went back to her job thinking life would be ok. But in 2010, the complications came back.

“I was referred to Kenyatta National Hospital. They found out that I had a clot near my heart. I was operated on and stayed in the ICU for ten days and as my condition got better I was transferred to the ward.”

Instead of celebrating her recovery, Gladys was hit with another shocker.

“When I recovered I opened my eyes but could not see anything, I heard my mother's voice and asked her what was happening, I could not see yet my eyes were opened. A nurse explained to me that I lost my eyesight while undergoing the operation. I was confused. Why was this happening to me? I tried waking up but couldn't, I could not feel my left side, I was paralysed so I could not walk. With the unending troubles, my husband deserted me.”

She adds, “On the day I was discharged we were told to go back to hospital after a week for check-up. I was taken back by my husband, brother and uncle. Upon reaching there my husband opted to get a wheel chair as my brother queued in the line. He never returned till today. Anytime I tried reaching him he couldn't answer until a lady picked one day and told me "wachana na bwana yangu".

Gladys’ husband walked out on her when she needed him the most.

In December last year she got sick again and the doctor told her that she had typhoid. However, the drugs she was given were not making her well.

“In January I sought treatment at Kenyatta Hospital and it was found that I had a blood clot in my chest and heart. I was treated and while in the ward I got worse and had to be rushed to the ICU, treated and later taken to the ward severally.”

She says that when the doctor came to see her, she felt it in his voice that he had bad news. He did.

The doctor told Gladys that her lungs had collapsed and she had a clot in both her head and heart.

“I was devastated.”

They told her that she could not be operated locally upon which they gave her a letter allowing her to be treated abroad.

“Since my lungs collapsed I had to buy an oxygen concentrator that cost Sh450,000. I could not raise the money for both the machine and the medical bills since my NHIF card could not settle the whole bill and had to do a harambee. My MP John Njoroge Chege also came to my rescue and donated Sh500,000 and I was discharged.”

She says that she found a hospital abroad and it will cost Sh7 million for her to get the treatment she needs.

“Knowing that I could not raise it, I knew I would eventually die but a former councillor by the name of John Kibue came to see me and told me that he would help me seek funds. He is God sent. My daughter used to carry the oxygen cylinder for me as we went for check-ups with the help of taxi operators.”

It was not all smooth sailing and once a taxi operator refused to carry her fearing she would die in his car.

“We asked a taxi to pick us at our house in Mwiki. When the taxi guy came, we got the oxygen concentrator, oxygen gas cylinders and a generator and were about to put them in the car when he quipped, "Mama hizi zote ni zako?" I told him yes.”

"Na ukaweza kufia kwa gari yangu si ni kesi utaniachia? Sio kwa ubaya lakini sitaki kujiletea shida,” he responded and drove off.

Kibue now takes her to hospital in his car for check-ups anytime Gladys needs to.

Gladys needs funds for mechanical lungs reconstruction to enable her breathe unaided.

Doctors at Artemis International Hospital in Delhi, India have also mentioned there is a high possibility of her regaining eyesight.

Gladys’ appeal is for renewal of hope. Any support can be sent through PAYBILL NUMBER: 891300

Account Name: GLADYS

M-Pesa donations can be sent to her mobile number: 0716 338018 or 0718 036537.

There is also an M-Changa account here:

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