He is just a 24 year old young man like any other with dreams and hopes for the future like every young man his age. Unlike any young person his age
though, Lawrence Munyao has a sad demeanor and a forlorn faraway look; and you only get to understand him when he tells his story.
Lawrence lived a normal life until five years ago when life drastically changed for him. While visiting his grandfather, it was not
unusual for him to help with chores. This particular morning of 2007 though things were different. He found it extremely difficult to carry out
simple tasks like fetching water for the cows to drink, something he had previously done without sweating a brow. It was just eight in the morning and
yet he felt exhausted and was sweating profusely from carrying a bucket of water. As a result it took him a while to deliver the water which earned him a reprisal from his grandfather.
Lawrence explained to him that he was not feeling well and even cited the fact that he was sweating yet it was still early in the morning and the sun was not yet up, something which his
brother brushed off as an excuse. According to him Lawrence had just poured water on himself and was merely playing tricks to avoid his chores.
By nightfall, Lawrence was in pain barely able to sleep. He felt heavy and his heart was beating fast. He called his mother who promptly took him to Machakos District hospital where he
was diagnosed with anemia. He was later referred to Kenyatta National hospital where he had to undergo further tests because
his condition had not improved. At Kenyatta he twice underwent a painful bone marrow test, because the first time
the results had been misplaced. Her, he was diagnosed with aplastic anemia.
Aplastic anemia is a blood disorder in which the body’s bone marrow does not make new blood cells. The bone marrow is a sponge-like tissue that
makes stem cells which develops into red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets (blood). In people who have aplastic anemia, the body does not make enough of these cells because the bone
marrow’s stem cells are damaged. Many diseases, conditions and factors can damage the stem cells. These conditions can be acquired or inherited; however, in many people the cause is unknown.
Aplastic anemia is a rare but serious disorder which can develop suddenly or slowly and tends to get worse over time, unless it is treated either by blood transfusions, blood and bone
marrow stem cell transplant and medicines.
Since then Lawrence has been in and out of different hospital from Aga Khan to Mater Hospitals. He cannot afford to buy the medicine required which cost a million shilling and has to be
taken for five years and may or may not work. His only reprieve right now is for him to have a bone marrow transplant. Currently the only thing that has kept him alive is blood transfusion.
Every month he requires up to six pint of blood to live. For the last five years, he has been a beneficiary of countless numerous donors, “I depend on donors to help me live;” he says “and I would not be here today, were it not for those who donate blood.”
Sometime he gets allergic reactions after a transfusion as attested by the black spots all over his body which are a result of internal bleeding. When injured he cannot stop bleeding, nor can
he do most things that young people his age do. Right now the only thing that can save his life is a bone marrow transplant which costs 14 million shillings and
it can only be done in India. He is appealing to well-wishers to assist him where they can either by continuing to donate blood or help him fundraise for the transplant.
Despite the dark cloud hovering on him, Lawrence still has dreams and hopes for the future. He dreams of one day starting a family and growing to a ripe old age, by then all these will just be a distant memory of
his past which made him appreciate the many faceless donors whose life he currently relies on.
Lawrence is not alone in his need of blood; there are many people who need blood due to several other threatening conditions. Every day blood is needed to treat more than one patient such as saving accident victims, in surgery, and as medicine for people like Lawrence. Blood is not just for emergencies, routine procedures such as heart operations and leukemia treatment require lots of transfusions. According to the Kenya National Blood transfusion Services, three teaspoons of your blood can save the life of a premature baby. You can make a difference today and any other day by donating blood and saving a life.