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Hawa's Story - The Well Woman Clinic makes a difference

10-year-old Hawa came to the Well Woman Clinic with a giant lump on her breast. As you can imagine, Hawa and her family were very worried about her growing lump. Hawa was teased at school about it and the lump itself was extremely uncomfortable and painful. The Well Woman Clinic and medics examined her and to our relief found it was a juvenile giant fibroadenoma. For the non-medics amongst us, this is a non-cancerous breast lump/growth. The Well Woman Clinic referred Hawa to Connaught Hospital where, to Hawa’s delight, the growth was removed. Hawa’s story gained nationwide interest as it was published in the Awoko, Owl, Night Watch and Guardian newspapers. It was also shared across social media platforms.

Unfortunately, much to Hawa’s dismay, just as she was starting to heal from surgery to her left breast and prepare to go back to school, her right breast started growing at a terrifying rate. Once again, The Well Woman Clinic and medics acted quickly. Hawa received immediate surgery to stop the growth in her right breast, saving her from further pain and discomfort. Hawa is now pain free, lump free and preparing to go back to school.

Hawa, her friends, family and the Well Woman Clinic are so grateful to the team lead and the rest of the team of the Oncology Department at the Connaught Hospital, especially Dr Smalle who devotes an appreciable amount of time to cancer patients and young girls like Hawa. We thank the nurses on the ward for providing Hawa with a “home away from home”at the hospital. We thank Matron Betty and her team for the tremendous work they do, providing care and support to patients, especially during this pandemic period.

How did you do it without raising funds, you may ask? - two surgeries, pre- and post-surgery care, counselling and psychosocial support. Well, we couldn’t have done it without you, our supporters! We would like to thank all our donors who contributed to the ‘2020 Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign’ and further appeal for funds to cover diagnostics, treatment, counselling and psychosocial support for patients such as Hawa. Your donations enabled us to fund emergency surgery for Hawa and pay her pre- & post-operative costs.

Through your donations and support, we’ve also helped countless other women. We’ve been able to cover ultrasound screening, mammograms, other diagnostic procedures, post-operative and chemotherapy costs. We also contributed to the cost of a patient’s journey to Accra for further treatment. We cannot thank you enough. We thank our partner HACU (USA) for supplying dignity kits for all cancer patients when they are discharged from hospital.

We thank the Clinic’s staff who start the morning’s activities with prayers for all patients and, at this time, especially for Hawa. We particularly thank Nurse Glenna who was by her bedside before and after surgery. It was during one of these visits that patient A, a 37-year- old cancer patient was spotted in her bed crying for the lack of a sponsor for her post-surgery care and discharge fee. The Clinic quickly adopted Patient A and before long, her discharge fee and post-surgery bills were paid.

Special thanks also go to Hawa’s family, Madam Theresa Nalloh, Female Sierra Leone organisation, Febian Kandeh, and all those who facilitated her journey to the Clinic for believing in us enough to contact us about Hawa’s plight. We hope you are satisfied with our rapid response and once again thank Dr Smalle and his team at the Oncology Department Connaught Teaching Hospital Complex. We give God all the glory and praise for enabling the Clinic to continue to care for women and girls in Sierra Leone.

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