Last year, we at the American Cancer Society asked you to pioneer an innovative approach to fundraising for a project of global importance. As the time draws near for another Faire, I wanted to give you an update on where that project now stands.
In Kenya, mortality rates for cancer are nearly 80%. As we began to work with the Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) in Nairobi, it became clear that the reason many Kenyans do not seek treatment is that they’ll have nowhere to stay after making the long journey to KNH. It’s an issue we’ve seen before. We’ve built more than thirty facilities in the United States where those who must travel far from home for treatment can stay for free. The Hope Lodge initiative is one of our most impactful patient support programs, and KNH will be the site of the first such facility to be built outside the US.
Such a groundbreaking project called for an innovative approach to fundraising. The American Cancer Society began engaging supporters in the US and in Kenya, and for the first time, we would ask a Relay For Life team to focus on a specific project. That team was Fantasy Faire and in 2018 you answered the call by raising $50,000 dollars. We were all energized by your success!
It also inspired others around the world to join in the effort. This enabled us to expand our goals for the project. We nearly doubled the number of beds in the hostel, allowing for thousands more patients to access this home away from home. With your help, our Kenyan partners will begin construction in July on the KNH Hope Hostel.
However, you’ve already made a difference. Thanks in large part to Relayers in Second Life, we’ve been able to launch the Patient Navigator program at KNH which in the last year has given FOUR THOUSAND Kenyans access to better information and assistance. Think about that number for a moment: four thousand people! Ask yourself how many family members they each have. How many friends and loved ones? There are tens of thousands of people in Kenya today whose lives are already better because of you.
I was told once that a Faireland is any place from which you depart with more hope than you had when you arrived. That definition resonates powerfully with all of us at the American Cancer Society. It’s exactly what we set out to build every time we break ground on a new Hope Lodge. Such a task requires a mighty fellowship. Together, the people of Kenya, the American Cancer Society and Fantasy Faire are exactly that.
Thank you so much for standing with us.
American Cancer Society
P.S. I’m not the only one who would like to say thank you!