Thursday March 17, 2016 | Abby White, WE C Hope CEO
Fourteen years ago, a beautiful baby girl was welcomed into the world. Her parents named her Gorata, which means “to love” in Setswana, the national language of her homeland, Botswana.
Ten years ago today, precious little “Rati” celebrated her last birthday in this world. She developed eye cancer before she was five months old, and her life was cruelly cut short by lack of early diagnosis and poor access to timely expert care.
Our first photo of Rati. She was not given an artificial eye in Botswana. You can see the cancer growing in her eye socket.
Rati bloomed when she received an artificial eye during treatment in Canada. Her joy for life shines in her smile.
Many people worked very hard to give Rati the best last chance possible. You can read her full story here. Ultimately, expert care came too late and we could not save her life. Rati had plans of her own though. She taught us to see and hear and understand the needs of families like her own, and she challenged us to do something to help change their experience of retinoblastoma.
World Eye Cancer Hope exists because of Rati, because of her parents love for her and their determination to find help for her. With very small financial resources, and a team dispersed around the world, we are tackling the issues that caused Rati to die. We are developing awareness campaigns, training medical professionals, developing clinical care systems and family support programs that will improve outcomes for children in resource limited countries and developed countries.
Rati died far too young, and we feel her loss every day, but her legacy continues to grow. Her family’s love, and her heart for other suffering children lights up our path as we innovate, collaborate, advocate, inculcate and alleviate trauma in her memory. Every big or small step we take towards the day when no child dies or loses their sight to eye cancer is a thumbs up to our little friend.
Today we celebrate Rati, the beautiful, bright, bubbly butterfly who came so briefly into our lives and changed us all so dramatically. Please read Rati’s story, and consider making a donation in her memory. Your gift will save other families from the agony of empty arms by helping us develop access to quality timely care for children with eye cancer.
We are the global village Rati created for retinoblastoma – together we are building a brighter future…