Enhance Hungwe vividly remembers the day he started to understand how sick he was. He was just 10 years old and lying in his hospital bed at Parirenyatwa Hospital, Harare Zimbabwe, and he couldn’t breathe.
“Lying hopelessly on the lumpy bed , I honestly knew I had to fight for the next breath, which took long to come, I was literally dying ,” says Hungwe who is now a 27-year-old nurse at Kidzcan, the only private voluntary organisation that is committed to increasing the survival rate of children with cancer in a loving and caring environment.
The story of Enhance Hungwe, especially in a sea of grim tales concerning cancer, is something that brings hope to all children who are battling to survive cancer. In as much as it is a tear drawing story it is also a thrilling script with a happy ending.
Hungwe, who was diagnosed with Wilms Tumour, cancer of the kidney, speaks about his survival to inspire others.
Researchers found that childhood cancer survivors were less likely to achieve academically, graduate high school or go to college than those without cancer.
The finding however does not apply in Hungwe’s world, who is academically gifted.
The 27 year old cancer survivor narrated his story to 263Chat.
“It all started when I was playing with my friends at school, I started passing urine with blood and my abdomen started swelling.
“I had to skip school sessions to the extent that I had to repeat my grade 3. I spent 3 years on medication until the final chemotherapy.
He went on to reveal the challenges he faced in his battle against cancer.
“My parents were not in a position to accept that I had cancer.
“We had to travel from Masvingo, where we used to reside to Harare for my medication and sometimes we had difficulties with the money to buy drugs as well as transport fares,” he said.
Hungwe advised all cancer patients to maintain all the treatment protocols without missing some sessions of the cycle as it affects the survival rate.
Another Cancer survivor Michael, who is aged 19 urged people to seek medical advice once they detect signs and symptoms of cancer.
“I urge people to desist from seeing traditional healers and visit hospitals if they start noticing signs and symptoms of cancer,” he said.
He added: “the more you delay the less the chances of survival.”
Michael said that behind his survival was also his potential to steer his own care and be on top of treatment options.
Bev Sebastian, the Executive Director of Kidzcan echoed the above sentiments when she said that if detected early cancer can be treated.
Zimbabwe is recording 7,000 new cancer cases, on average, annually compared to 3,349 in 2007.
An estimated 1,855 new cases of cervical cancer are diagnosed every year while 1,286 deaths are recorded.