Determined to see sick children beat cancer, an Accra man is going to spend his 22nd birthday walking from Kumasi to Accra.
Reuben Griffiths Bekoe plans to walk 260km, leaving Kumasi on Monday August 1, planning to reach Accra the following Sunday.
With a target of walking about 40km a day, Bekoe is aiming to raise much-needed funds for child cancer treatment and equipment for the cancer unit in the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital in Kumasi. He wants to help families pay for the treatment of children with cancer, as diagnosis and treatment is costly. Children die because families can not afford the drugs.
The hospital says an average total cost of running laboratory investigations and scans for diagnosis and monitoring of treatment is about GH₵3,500.00. The cost of anticancer drugs alone to treat the simplest cancer (Burkitt Lymphoma) is GH₵1,000.00 while that for Leukaemia (cancer of the blood) is GH₵14,000.00.
With an aim of raising GH₵ 50,000 Bekoe hopes to help five children with treatment, or about 200 investigations.
The Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital is one of only two childhood cancer treatment sites in the country serving the whole of the northern and middle belts of Ghana.
Since January 1998, the child cancer unit has registered over 1200 children who have been seen for cancer diagnosis and/or treatment. It attends to an average of 90 children newly diagnosed with cancer per year. A third of these children die; another third abandon treatment while a further third do well and recover.
It saw many of the children who have cancer come from very deprived regions, families suffer poverty and low education which means 34 percent of those who start treatment, drop out.
Families can't afford the treatment or do not understand its importance.
Bekoe's own mother died nine years ago from cancer, and he wants the walk to honour her, as well as save children from her fate.
He will be carrying everything he needs in a small pack, and holding a placard so passing drivers and pedestrians will know what he is doing.
He is hoping friends and strangers will join him on the walk, and he will be updating his adventure over social media.
Under the name Walk for Charity Ghana, he has been working with other young Ghanaians to promote the walk.
He wants as many people as possible to know about the hospital, that it can help children get treatment.
Bekoe is also using a newly-developed app to raise the funds, Geevapp.com which a friend developed.
He was determined to use social media and get the funds to the hospital to break a stereotype, he believed it was only celebrities who were successfully able to fundraise.
“People can look up and say we have fundraised this amount, using this way. It will help people come out to support a child to go to school, we have different ways to fundraise rather than waiting for the celebrities to fundraise.”
This is not the first time he has put his body on the line to raise money for charity. From August until December 2015, he spent 13 hours a day on a bicycle, touring all ten regions of Ghana.
He was raising money and awareness for the Ghana Cleft Foundation. The Foundation operates on children with cleft deformities, at no cost to the parents.
You can donate here: https://www.gofundme.com/bez2zbcs
Or Tigo Mobile Money number 0571500010