By Essie Wambui
Once again, the Kenyan Community in Ontario and friends are coming together for Fidelis; to express gratitude to God for a successful surgery and also wish mother and daughter well as they depart to return home to Kenya.
This meeting will take place on Friday January 29, 2016 at 130 Industry Street Unit 5, Toronto, ON M6M 5G3 starting at 6 pm and everyone is invited.
In August 2015, Fidelis Muthoni aka Baby Fidelis, burst into many people’s world. It was neither a regular nor gentle introduction but one done abruptly through the media, on screens and newspaper pages.
The little girl had received sponsorship courtesy of the Herbie Fund to undergo life-saving treatment at the Hospital for Sick Kids in Toronto.
Her story broke when money raised for her travel to Canada for the treatment was allegedly embezzled by a man trusted by the family with fundraising for the cause.
Fortunately, Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta intervened and bought air tickets for mother and child to travel before the appointment was called off.
A Kenyan couple in Toronto – Irene & Joseph Maina – also kindly offered to host Martha & Fidelis for free, for as long as they needed. In addition, Irene who is a nurse by profession took it upon herself to transport the two and attend numerous pre-surgery consultative meetings and tests in preparation for Fidelis’s surgery.
Various reports and individuals have at different times erroneously cited Fidelis’s condition as a tumour. Now that the first surgery has successfully been completed and with help of some reports from her doctors, we can correct that. What Fidelis has is referred to as frontal encephalocele, a skull defect characterized by partial lack of bone fusion leaving a gap through which a portion of the brain protrudes.
These images are a 3D replica of Fidelis’s skull before the surgery. You will notice that she was missing the frontal bone (at the forehead) leaving her brain exposed and hanging on the outside.
The goal therefore of this recently performed surgery, known as anterior cranial vault reconstruction, was to enlarge her skull so that the part of the brain hanging outside could be pushed back in. After successfully doing that, the surgeons then grafted a bone from her skull to cover the opening so that she now has a forehead.
It is important to remember that only that part of the surgery is done and there remain other complex surgeries which will among other things involve residual cosmetic work that is needed to reconstruct the nose and bring her eyes closer together. Unfortunately, due to Fidelis’s age (22 months) and an infection that developed after this first surgery, subsequent surgeries will have to wait until she is much older.
Due to the aforementioned infection developed after the surgery, Fidelis is currently on oral antibiotics and is expected to continue taking them for the next few months.
The good news is that as of January 25, 2016, Fidelis has been medically cleared by the team at Sick Kids, referred and accepted into the care of two doctors in Kenya: Dr. Bernard Githae, a plastic and reconstructive surgeon at Kenyatta National Hospital and Dr. Peter Wanyoike, a consultant neurosurgeon formerly of KNH and the one in charge of Fidelis’ referral.
Child and mum are expected to leave Canada on Sunday January 31st. This is welcome news as Fidelis’s mum is expecting her third child early in March.
Baby Fidelis stole our collective heart those few months ago. We wish her the very best through this journey whose pain from pokes, needles, cuts and stitches she somehow endures with her radiant smile.
– By Essie Wambui with files & photos courtesy Irene Njoroge