The Nation Media Group on Sunday held a major concert at the Carnivore Grounds in Nairobi to support its presenter, Mrs Janet Kanini Ikua, who was last month diagnosed with cancer.
Top gospel and secular music artistes, among them Daddy Owen, Rufftone, Sauti Sol, comedian Churchill Ndambuki and other performers took to the stage to raise money to meet the presenter’s medical bill.
The campaign comes just days after the world marked the World Cancer Month, dedicated to raising awareness about cancer prevention, treatment and how to manage the disease.
Mrs Ikua, who was accompanied by her husband, Mr George Ikua, said the money raised from the show should not only be used to pay her bills but to support other cancer patients, especially children who seek treatment at the Kenyatta National Hospital.
She wept as she narrated how overwhelmed she was by the support she had received, moving the crowd that had turned for the event.
Media Managing Editor Linus Kaikai also thanked those who supported the campaign.
On Twitter, Kenyans started a hashtag, #IStandWithJanet, which was trending by last evening.
Many of them challenged the government to revise its commitment on cancer treatment and other diseases.
“Let’s fix health system in KE,” said Kinyua Kariithi.
Other tweets urged the government to buy cancer machines to ensure that Kenyans stop travelling to India for treatment.
“Why not start an all-inclusive cancer fund stead of jus helpin janet alone (sic)?” asked Haya Sylvester.
Matthew Tajeu tweeted: “Whilst the motive behind #IStandWithJanet is noble, it should be a wake up call to the govt and stakeholders to streamline our health sector.”
Others, however, empathised with Mrs Ikua, hailing her courage.
“I felt tears at how she spoke with courage,” said Cemca Kelvin.
However, some of the commentators were critical of the initiative, with some saying that there were many other deserving cases that go unnoticed.
“Stop this charade,” tweeted Lemukol Ng’asike.
Last month, Ms Ikua had posted on Facebook that she had been diagnosed with lung cancer.
The cancer, which is in its fourth stage, was diagnosed in India after months of treatment in Nairobi, where doctors were trying to manage deep vein thrombosis (DVT) — a condition that leads to the formation of a blood clot, predominantly in the legs.
“My case of DVT has turned out to be a symptom of something else, something more,” Mrs Ikua wrote, explaining that the disease had ‘refused’ to respond to the medication she had been put on.