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Cancer reminded me why I wanted to live

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In 1999 a young, tall, beautiful girl made news when she became M-Net’s Face of Africa, winning the Kenyan tittle. This win was only the beginning of her modeling career. Bidanya Barassa who was the second Kenyan to win this title made a career out of something she did not intend to be.

“My mum convinced me to go to a place called Kelu Modeling School that she had heard of, and since it was after high school, she convinced me to do it because I didn’t like computer classes.

“I was admitted to the school because I was about 5’10’’ tall. They said I could be a runway model and advised that I wear high heels (three inches) because of my height, and that is how it started,” she says.

She started immediately and within a week, she was already getting modeling contracts. But despite her success in the modeling space, Bidanya never thought modeling was a career or something she could do. At least not until she got onto the runway, started traveling around the world and started making money from it.

“I always saw people on TV modeling and I wondered what they were doing. I always thought it was not a career. I started enjoying it later on. Getting (into) M-Net face of Africa was a breakthrough for me as I traveled to the Caribbean and many exotic places.

“What I loved most about it was I didn’t have to go to my mum for money because I could now buy my own stuff and books as I loved reading,” she says.

Bidanya describes herself as passionate, lover of life, family-oriented, confident, pusher, leader and “multipotentialite”.

Battle with cancer

All was going well, then in 2010 she was diagnosed with Stage Two colon cancer. What started as a stomach ache with traces of blood in her stool, ended up as cancer which she battled for about a year.

“I was diagnosed in 2010. I was having stomach aches and there was blood in my stool, so I went to hospital for tests. We did a blood test, an X-ray and an ultra sound but they didn’t see much.

“The doctor said we needed to do more tests. We did an endoscopy and a colonoscopy and that’s when they found a growth on the left of my colon,” she says.

Bidanya remembers waking up from her colonoscopy wondering what the problem was. At the doctor’s office, she was told she did not have stomach cancer but had Stage Two colon cancer. She was not surprised as she had called her mum earlier before the doctor’s visit and told her that she was certain she had colon cancer.

“Before the final diagnosis, I was driving to my office and I remember thinking everything in my life was going very well. My career was doing fine, my boyfriend was perfect at that time and I thought maybe God was leading me down this path for a reason.

“I was shocked when the doctor confirmed my fears but I was not too surprised. I didn’t go through the denial stages, probably because I had already prepared myself mentally for the news by telling myself that I had cancer.

“I booked an appointment with a surgeon on January 3, 2010 and asked what I need to do. I was booked for the surgery and I started my treatment,” remembers Bidanya.

After her surgery on January 5, 2010, she believed she was done with her treatment but was advised to start chemotherapy after recovering from the surgery.

“I started chemotherapy after two weeks. This is when I got scared and it hit me that I had cancer. I had read that at Stage Two one doesn’t need chemotherapy but the doctor advised that I do it so that we can kill the cancer cells and not have it reoccur after three years or so.

“When I talked to my mum about it, she only had one question: Do I want to die? This had me thinking about all the things I wanted to do and all the plans I had and decided to have the chemotherapy,” she says.

After eight weeks in recovery, Bidanya started her chemotherapy, which lasted eight months. She says she prayed to God and told Him about her plans, and told Him that she did not want to lose her life.

“I was afraid that I would lose my hair due to chemotherapy. My biggest fear at that time was dying. I did not want to lose my life.

“After every three weeks, I would go for the chemo treatment and I would be in bed for about five days, get back to work then go back for my treatment in another three weeks.

“It was long and hard. I was nauseated, weak, food tasted like metal and I always had to force myself to eat so that I could recover faster. It was a long journey as chemotherapy is not easy,” she says.

After her chemotherapy, Bidanya went for another colonoscopy a year later and found no sign of cancer. Two years after her diagnosis, she went to India to do a pet scan, after which she was declared cancer-free.

“I already knew deep in my heart that I was healed. There is this verse in the Bible that says we are healed by Jesus’ stripes and I believed I was healed. The first thing I did after I was healed was pray and just thank God for the gift of life. It had been a long journey,” she says.

No more modeling

As the managing director of Top Image Africa, Bidanya has no plans of getting back on the runway.

“People always ask me this but I only did this part-time. I think it has served its purpose. Modeling is tough because you are relying on someone for your looks. It’s hard. It’s basically you going for auditions and if they like your face, height, hands and smile, you’re hired for the job.

“At that time, I was in campus and my goal was to do my undergraduate and masters degrees. I remember once when I was in South Africa, I was asked what would happen to my education if I was selected to go to New York.

“I told them I would transfer my credits and continue with my studies in New York, and they thought I was crazy. My goal has always been to be in the corporate world and run a successful business, so modeling played a purpose because it gave me my confidence.

“My height was an issue for me because I’m 5’10 but now I love my height and I wear heels that are four inches. I can’t wear flat shoes anymore unless I am going to the mall or travelling,” she says.

When it comes to love, Bidanya blushes and giggles when giving hints that she is in a relationship.

“I’m dating someone, even though I won’t give you a lot of information. He is an amazing man and we met in Ivory Coast when I was there for business. That’s all I can say,” she says laughing.

The former model is currently creating awareness about cancer, giving back to society and managing a modeling company.

She has an awareness programme on living healthy and eating healthy, and encouraging women to get screened for cancer. She runs it every Wednesday on her Instagram account.

By standardmedia.com


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Health

Shock as man ‘resurrects’ in a Kericho mortuary

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There was drama at Kapkatet sub-county hospital in Kericho on Tuesday night when a 32-year-old man who had been presumed dead and taken to the mortuary regained consciousness close to three hours later.

Mortuary attendants were getting ready to embalm Peter Kigen’s body when they noticed some movements.

Kigen, a resident of Kibwastuiyo village in Bureti Constituency, is said to have collapsed while at home before his family took him to hospital.

His younger brother, Kevin Kipkurui, said he was present when Kigen collapsed. With the help of their cousin, they took Kigen to the hospital at 5.30 pm.

“When we arrived at the casualty department, we met a doctor who asked us to register the details of the patient at the reception while he attended to him,” Kipkurui, who was still in shock, told The Standard.

After registering the patient, Kipkurui said he was again asked to the National Hospital Insurance Fund desk for further documentation of his brother.

Kigen reportedly suffers from a chronic illness.

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“When I went back to the casualty department at around 7.45 pm, I learnt my brother was dead. A nurse told me that he died long before we arrived at the hospital,” Kipkurui said.

He added: “The nurse later handed me a document to take to the mortuary attendant before my brother’s body was moved to the morgue.”

However, at 10.30 pm, Kipkuriu said, as they were waiting for embalming of Kigen’s body, they were informed that in fact, he was not dead.

Mortuary attendants who mummified the body told them that Kigen had regained consciousness.

“The mortician called me into the morgue and we saw him make movements. We were shocked. We could not understand how they could move a person who is still alive into the mortuary,” Kipkurui said.

Kigen, who spoke from his hospital bed yesterday, said he was shocked to learn that he was thought to have died and even taken to the mortuary.

“I cannot believe what just happened. How did they establish that I was dead?” he said.

Kirui, who donned his light-blue hospital uniform, was nevertheless happy to be alive and vowed to dedicate his life to evangelism once he’s discharged from hospital.

“I did not even know where I was when I regained consciousness, but I thank God for sparing my life. I will serve him for the rest of my life,” he said.

The hospital’s medical superintendent Gilbert Cheruiyot said Kigen was in critical condition when he was brought in.

Dr Cheruiyot said: “His relatives presumed he was dead and did not even wait for certification of death. They moved him to the mortuary, on their own.”

He said the clinical officers at the casualty were busy attending to other critically ill patients when Kigen was brought in, including an epileptic and a diabetic patient.

“They asked Kigen’s relatives to give them some time but they accused the clinicians of taking too much time and decided to take him to the mortuary. It was while the mortician was getting ready to embalm his body that she noticed some signs of life,” said Cheruiyot. He said the mortician informed the team at the casualty department which took Kigen back and begun resuscitating him. The process took three hours before the patient was stabilised.

“The patient was later taken to the ward and is responding well to treatment. We hope to discharge him in a few days,” Dr Cheruiyot said yesterday.

He added: “I advise those bringing their loved ones to the hospital to follow the laid down regulations. Before a body is moved the mortuary, it has to be certified by a clinician. In Kigen’s case, we can only say he was lucky, especially because of our qualified mortician who checked him before making any move,” said Cheruiyot.

The bizarre incident saw local MCAs, led by the Majority Leader Hezron Kipngeno, storm the hospital. This is after Chelanget MCA Hezborn Tonui demanded a statement from the heath committee over the incident that shocked the county.


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Health

Janet Mbugua shares her Covid-19 scare

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Media personality Janet Mbugua has shared the tale of the time she faced a scare as thought she had contracted Covid-19 last month.

In a video she shared on Instagram, the former Citizen tv news anchor said she experienced Covid-19 symptoms which escalated quite quickly.

The video shows her being taken through the nasal swab test for Covid-19, which is known to very uncomfortable.

Luckily, the result for the mother of two came back negative.

Janet Mbugua said that her scary experience motivated her to fight the fear and stigma related to Coronavirus, and will use her platform to advocate for a vaccine.

This comes as Covid-19 cases continue to rise sharply in Kenya amid a rush by various pharmaceutical companies globally to come up with an effective vaccine.

By NN


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Comedian Flaqo opens up on rare condition he has been battling

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Popular Kenyan comedian, Flaqo born Erastus Ayieko Otieno has for the first time spoken about a rare condition that he has been struggling with for some time.

Turns out that despite the funny man the Kenyan audience and beyond has grown to know as Flaqo Raz, he has his fair share of battles behind the cameras.

Flaqo opens up

The Internet sensation shared a photo showing red, itchy welts like a form of skin reaction on certain parts of his body.

Depending on the reactions, the welts appear and fade repeatedly and vary in size.

The YouTuber shared his condition with fans in the hope that maybe one or two can relate to what he has been going through and maybe work out a solution on the same.

“Anyone with this condition, how do you go about it?” he posed.

Comedian Flaqo rare skin condition

“Sometimes I have to postpone my shoots because they are unbearable. Zangu zilipotea for 6 months straight. Now they are back…” he replied to a fan who shared a similar experience.

Funny enough, soon as he had put up the post, he got so much feedback, with so many individuals able to relate to his skin condition, to his amazement.

“So far: try staying in the sun for a bit, bathe with warm water after taking antihistamines. To understand your condition better, make a point of seeing a dermatologist,” Flaqo shared with fans battling a similar condition, after gathering responses from his fan base.

Wrapping up urging fellow victims to take plenty of water, work out more often and avoid proteins since hives get triggered by things like particular foods, medication and stress.

By Ghafla.com


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