Thomas’s Story

My momma died in Kenya 2008 after battling cervical cancer.

She lived in great pain for a long time without knowing it was cervical cancer.This happened because we did not have access to the right diagnosis due to the abject poverty in the home. Also, cancer is a non-communicable disease and it’s very hard to be screened or have a Pap test done.

After struggling to know her illness we met a kind, gynaecological doctor who told us it is impossible to cure her since her cancer was stage 4.

I watched my sweet momma die. Before she passed on she told me and I quote her: make sure no-one has to experience what I have gone through and ensure all are screened early for prevention.

In 2012, her words hit me strongly. I started a community-based organisation called Smile Woman CBO, a registered non-profit, that seeks to help women access local health facilities and refer those with pre-cancerous cells to doctors.

I have walked 560 kilometres twice in two weeks to create awareness and raise funds to help poor women. However, this had little success. In 2016, I walked with a team of five for 34 days covering 1,000 kilometres again, with little success. We have a few components like Speculum, doctors who do services for free, but we still need help from anyone with a passion for saving woman from cervical cancer. Cervical cancer kills 9 to 11 women everyday in Kenya.

Smile Woman since its birth has screened over 9,300 women with the help of board member donations. Each day dozens of women, some dying, call me for help but my help is limited. Hundreds of these women need urgent procedures such as hysterectomies or cryotherapy, services that are impossible for us to provide.

Our core vision is to see a society free of cervical cancer. We go door-to-door to create awareness and help people understand that cervical cancer is preventable and treatable with early detection through screening.

We cannot continue screening without treating these women because it causes a lot of trauma and emotional torture. If I get a sponsor, I will walk 2,600 kilometres from Kenya to Zambia for I know my steps one day will speak louder and somebody will hear the agony and the pain of women.

Saving a woman is saving a generation!

My mother died without a smile on her face. Help me put a smile on others.

Thomas Chacha Maria
Smile woman CBO

My tips for Australian women about cervical health

Early screening is vital.