Pause: Something really, really important.

__It could save a life.

A few weeks ago, I went to see a doctor with one of my daughters. She is 22 years old. It was just the two of us. The doctor welcomed us both with real excitement: “Today is exactly one year since your remission. You are totally free of cancer,” the doctor announced. He was as excited as we were. My daughter and I shrilled with joy, and we thanked God profusely.

“How is school?”‘

“Well, I went back last September, and I will be graduating in a few weeks. And all my hair is back!”

# God is good!

Later my daughter and I broke our fast and shared communion with the other members of our family, even those who were in other parts of the world.

# My daughter is a cancer survivor!

It had been a year-long battle against a cancer known as lymphoma. We are a family of faith and we never doubted that we would beat this thing. My daughter is a mighty woman of faith even from when she was a child. It is how we trained our children.

It all started with my daughter saying she had a persistent dry cough. My wife insisted they go to the doctor immediately. She was found to have a tumor the size of a tennis ball in her chest!

My daughter had to suspend university for a year. Our whole family organized its life around her treatment. The other children were always taking turns to ensure continuous support. Above all, we prayed without ceasing.

Those who know my wife: #AfricanLionessRoar!

There were times during the treatment when our daughter slept every night in my wife’s arms. My wife never complained or cried in despair… Just prayed, encouraged, strengthened.

Our prayer partners and friends, including my daughter’s friends at her university, were absolutely amazing: God bless you all to eternity!

One day whilst we were in the middle of this battle, I got a call from the office of former US President George W Bush. He told me he’d followed my campaign against the spread of Ebola. He asked me if I’d be interested in a campaign to help stop the spread of a cancer called CERVICAL CANCER.

In all humility, we could not have stopped Ebola without the contribution of President Obama. Incidentally, he’s the one who had suggested to President Bush to approach me as part of a program of ambassadors to build awareness.

Until President Bush mentioned it, I had fleeting knowledge of cervical cancer but once I sat down to read about it, I was totally horrified:

# Along with breast cancer it’s the most common cancer in women around the world.

# In sub-Saharan Africa, more than 93,000 African women develop this cancer each year and an estimated 57,000 die.

# While cervical cancer is now (mostly) preventable and treatable (if diagnosed early)… it’s still the cancer that kills the most women in sub-Saharan Africa.

Now I did not always agree with President Bush and his policies when he was in office. That was not the issue. Here was something good! If someone comes to me with something good, I consider it on its merits. So I travelled to the US and met President Bush and his wife Laura, as well as then-First Lady Michelle Obama, to launch a campaign on awareness dangers of cervical cancer.

Thinking back to my daughter: It was the grace of God that she happened to be home from college in the US. I believe in healing and I also believe cures come from God, because anything good is of God; good medical care and treatment can only be from God.

To all the women on this platform: My dearest sisters, listen to me:

# Early diagnosis and regular check-ups are key. Get a check-up.

# In the case of cervical cancer, if you’re under 26 years old, you can even get the vaccine against the HPV virus that causes it. Get the vaccine.

# Tell your friends and family.

Don’t nurse pains and aches, or ignore abnormal symptoms in your body. That’s not brave!

# Go to a clinic and get it checked out. It could save your life.

And to all you men out there: Be concerned over your wives, daughters, sisters and mothers. Don’t be old-fashioned about issues concerning the health of women. Be engaged, knowledgeable and above all, totally supportive.

# Talk about these things! Women issues are life to us all.

Join us to stop cervical cancer amongst African women.

God bless you!


7 thoughts on “Pause: Something really, really important.

  1. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Afterthought 1.
    This week I travelled to Botswana as part of the awareness campaign with former President George W Bush, his wife Laura Bush, and former Botswana President, Festus Mogae. In 2003, President Bush’s government launched a program called PEPFAR (the largest commitment by any nation to tackle a single disease internationally at $70+bn so far.) Having campaigned for years in those days to end the HIV/AIDS pandemic, I know what a huge impact it had in savings millions of lives globally. It was like President Obama on Ebola. These types of initiatives can and should be local, too. Think about it!

  2. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Afterthought 2.
    One way you can help in this campaign is to ensure that rural women learn about this disease and what they can do to prevent it. Encourage them to get tested and also to seek vaccination and treatments. Where people cannot afford it, please think of practical ways to help. Tell us your ideas. Learn about the symptoms and share information.

  3. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Afterthought 3.
    Here are some simple ways you can help me in my job as an Ambassador of the Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon campaign: 1) visit the website (immediately) and learn about cervical cancer; 2) when you’re done, draw up a list of 10 people (including men) and discuss it with them. Tell them it’s important for women to be tested. Remind the men that they can also help stop the spread of this deadly disease. Now 10 is a minimum. You can, of course, do more. This is how we save lives.

  4. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Christian writes:

    Thank you sir. I will try my best to educate any woman, girl on my fb friends list about cervical cancer.

    I will make a research on cervical cancer, and how to cure it.


    My reply,
    I appreciate your practical approach. However it is important to also speak to men about cervical cancer. If men don’t know and understand about this disease we will struggle to ultimately destroy it.
    If every African man decides today that they want to stop Cervical Cancer, it is half the solution. It is not just about the women acting, men must get involved.

  5. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Robert Zulu writes:

    As a man that has lost a wife to this disease, i strongly support the education of the men fork. Sometimes i feel like had i known what i know now about Cancer, maybe just maybe, we could have avoided death. But the again, God tells as that ALL things work for good to those that trust him. Whenever i reflect on my late wife’s last days, i see a woman so sad and lonely. I couldn’t reach out to her because i didn’t know how to. I wouldn’t want another soul to go through what i went through. Cervical cancer taunts the those that remain as it slowly takes away life of a dear one. That war declared by it, i must fight too. It is from such encouraging cause of action undertaken by great men like yourself Strive Masiyiwa that some of us get hope to try and do something about this disease. The message of screening and testing will be heard in the corners of my country Zambia. I will set up a plan to disseminate cervical cancer information that supports awareness and prevention. I noticed as my late wife struggled with the diseases that, this diseases makes both the patient and those around with “hopelessness”. I will fight to give hope, by making sure people are able to detect this deadly disease before reaching the “hopelessness” stage. May Christ that has shown you how to love others continue to manifest his good works in you Sir!

    My reply,
    Thank you for sharing this painful testimony. It is when men like you speak out that others sit up and take notice, my dear brother.
    Make it your life mission, for the memory of your dear wife, to go out and fight this disease with all your strength.
    God bless and continue to comfort you and your family.

  6. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Victoria writes:

    i tested positive. took vaccine and treatment in nigeria. and yearly check up.

    My reply,
    Well done Victoria!
    Just imagine if we could get every girl child, and young woman in Africa to get vaccinated. We could save almost 60,000 needless deaths of woman in Africa every year!
    Also imagine what would happen if everyone on this platform went out to inform, and assist just 10 women in their sphere of influence to get vaccinated…wow!!!

  7. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Charmaine writes,

    I love your work and I am a big fan of yours ❤
    I am a cervical cancer survivor and our focus should not be on a vaccine but rather abstaining from early sexual practice as cervical cancer is a sexually transmitted condition.

    I work in the settlements of Kya Sands and Msawawa and that is our fundamental message to our young girls.

    Love to your Wife and Daughter

    My reply,
    You are a champion:


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