22-year-old Founder of Mara Cancer foundation, Marion Katusabe, is determined to offer support and hope to cancer patients and their caretakers through her foundation.
While appearing on the RX Radio’s Groove Cafe hosted by Crystal Newman, Katusabe narrated how she was compelled to drop out of university to take care of her mum, diverting her tuition fees to foot her mum’s treatment.
Without support from relatives, Katusabe for a year struggled to raise money for her mum’s hospital bills and other necessities that she believes created a hopeless situation for her mum by the time she passed on.
“I grew so thin that my friends suspected that I had HIV/AIDS. I was undergoing a lot of stress from raising money to cater for food, drinks and diapers. Almost every shop in Mulago knew me because I was always borrowing from them.”
“One day we had come back from hospital to my friend’s place from where my mum had been receiving treatment from. In another room at midnight, I heard my mum faintly calling my name and struggling to open the door before she fell. When I got to the room, I found her lying in a pool of blood.”
“I held her by the head as she asked me to get her some water and to call neighbours for help. I asked some of them to call an ambulance because the hospital was a few miles away,” she recounted.
“The ambulance driver asked for Ugx 100,000 but I only had Ugx 10,000, so he asked us not to disturb his sleep and switched off his phone. When my mum overheard that, she breathed her last. I didn't initially realise it because her eyes were still open. I put my head on her chest hearing no heartbeat, that's when I realised that she had gone,” Katusabe narrated as she sobbed.
It was from this tragic incident that Marion decided to dedicate her life to helping cancer patients and victims through her initiative.
“I decided to lay out a strategy and reached out to some people that I thought could help such as the Executive Director of Uganda Wildlife Education Center. When I pitched my idea to him, he only asked me what my age was and then gave me one million to register my organisation.”
Katusabe, who says her main goal was to find a cure for cancer, said she was told that it wasn’t possible, especially because of the cost of clinical trials. However, Crystal encouraged her to dream big and not to give up on what she believes. Her initiative, Mara Cancer Foundation, uses the same initials on Instagram and Twitter for donations and support.
The grove cafe with Crystal Newman airs every Weekday from 4-5pm on RX Radio.