By Dr. Aaron Fay
Occasionally, seemingly small contributions can be quite powerful. Earlier this year we were privileged to make just such a contribution. On March 27, 2008, we were contacted about a small 3 ½ year old boy named Peter Oyuga who lived with his parents and siblings on a peasant farm in Bundiidi, Uganda.
Peter had been diagnosed with retinoblastoma, the most common pediatric intraocular malignancy. Unfortunately, the astute Ugandan ophthalmologists were unable to provide the care necessary to remedy his disease, which is eminently treatable here in the USA. Peter’s parents did everything they could to find care for their son, exhausting the family’s resources. When Peter finally came to the attention of The Ray Tye Medical Aid Foundation, Peter’s right eye disease had advanced considerably and the left eye was showing advancing as well. By the time transportation and legal logistics could be arranged, his health had deteriorated. Ultimately, we were able to provide Peter palliation and comfort in his waning days. Of additional benefit was the comfort his family felt knowing they had advocated to the limit for their beloved child.
Shortly after his arrival at the Hospital; Peter succumbed to his disease. At the request of his parents, we operated posthumously, removing massive facial tumors and making him presentable, in their eyes, for their traditional burial ceremonies.
Peter’s parents never stopped trying to give him the best care in the world, which they found at Mass. Eye and Ear Infirmary (a teaching arm of Harvard Medical School). They are inexpressibly grateful for what seems to us a trivial contribution. Hopefully, their efforts will help us save some of the several young children in Bundiidi who apparently have the same type of cancer. Currently, we are assembling a Team to travel to Uganda to begin the process of identifying and healing these children.
Our gratitude and many thanks to The Ray Tye Medical Aid Foundation for helping to make this possible for Peter, his family, and the children of Bundiidi.