LGBTIQ activist Po Kimani needs our help to battle cancer

A prominent Kenyan LGBTIQ rights and social justice activist is undergoing cancer treatment for the fourth time, and friends have issued a call to support her financially and emotionally.


From the African Human Rights Media Network


Po Kimani (in green collared shirt) and fellow social justice movement activists. (File photo)

By Kikonyogo Kivumbi

Ms Po Kimani has in the last decade worked to strengthen the LGBTIQ and social justice movement in East Africa. She is currently ill, having developed cancer “partly to the chronic stress of organizing, which involved constant threats to their personal safety,” supporters say.

A gofundme page to support Kimani has been created by friends, well-wishers and allies of the movement.

“Now Po is dealing with their fourth bout of cancer, this time affecting their colon. Po is in almost constant pain. They’ve lost much of their energy, and eating is a challenge. Both the cancer and the treatment are rough on their body and spirit, making it hard to get through the day-to-day. COVID-19 has made treatment even more complicated and less accessible. On top of this, financial worries are a big stressor,” Kat Dearham,  a friend to Po Kimani, stated on the fundraising page.

As of publication time, US $4,250 has been contributed. The target is US $27,000.

The call to assist Po Kimani has been reproduced verbatim here below:

For many years, Po Kimani has been at the forefront of the struggle for queer and trans liberation. Po co-developed the first initiatives in support of queer women and intersex, trans, and non-binary people in Kenya and Uganda; they’ve dreamed new worlds through poetry and art; and they’ve housed, fed, and cared for countless community members who needed a safe place to rest. Anyone who has met Po knows their warmth, their full-bodied laughter, their sharp wit, and deep generosity. And Po has done all of this while battling cancer.

Over the course of a decade, Po has survived cancer three times. They attribute the recurring cancer partly to the chronic stress of organizing, which involved constant threats to their personal safety. Transphobia and homophobia have impacted their life in so many ways.

Now Po is dealing with their fourth bout of cancer, this time affecting their colon. Po is in almost constant pain. They’ve lost much of their energy, and eating is a challenge. Both the cancer and the treatment are rough on their body and spirit, making it hard to get through the day-to-day. COVID-19 has made treatment even more complicated and less accessible. On top of this, financial worries are a big stressor.

Po Kimani in an earlier photo

It’s not clear how Po will be able to afford their life-saving treatment. That’s where we come in! Po currently isn’t able to work, and they need both financial and emotional support to get through this challenging time. We’re looking to raise $27,000 CAD (just over $20,000 USD) to cover the costs of treatment for at least the next six months. This will cover $3,900 per month for chemotherapy and medication, plus $3,600 for other costs during the six months such as food and transportation. Depending on Po’s needs, these goals may shift as the fundraiser is ongoing.

Money sent to their fundraiser will be sent to the bank account of Po’s friend Kat Dearham. Kat will transfer money to Po on a regular basis throughout the fundraiser so it can be immediately accessible to them. Folks who are able to send money via M-PESA can also transfer funds directly to Po at 0721 801 054.

If you can’t donate in this moment, you can still show support by sharing this post with your network and encourage them to donate. Po has supported so many of us throughout the years and we want to give as many people as possible the chance to show care in return. If you have any questions or ideas on how we can reach our goals, please connect with us!

With much gratitude for your love and support,

Po & care team

 

Kikonyogo Kivumbi, the author of this article, is the executive director of the Uganda Health and Science Press Association.

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