Egerton University student Naomi Kerorio raising breast cancer awareness
As she walks from one hostel to another holding a bunch of ribbons, Naomi Naisoi Kerorio looks like a lone ranger in the expansive Egerton University.
Not even her "Wear Pink Ribbon" campaign T-shirt she is donning triggers anything in the minds of students she is engaging.
Ms Kerorio is painting the 82-year-old institution pink in October during Breast Cancer Awareness Month. She has been carrying out online campaigns on social media platforms in October.
She stops every student, teaching and non-teaching staff and pleads with them to wear the pink ribbon. She grabs every opportunity to raise cancer awareness at the institution.
“I always tell students and university staff that their lives are in their hands. Understanding cancer, screenings and the importance of early detection is crucial in addressing the illness," she says.
She is also raising breast cancer awareness to primary and secondary school learners in Njoro sub-county.
"For the past three years I have been pursuing my medicine course, the level of cancer awareness in the campus and surrounding communities is at its lowest ebb," says the Third-year Medicine and Surgery student at Egerton University School of Medicine.
"As a medical student I have to help reduce the number of people being diagnosed with cancer by highlighting prevention and also by providing information and support to those already affected by the disease," she said.
She adds: "My mission is to make cancer less frightening by enlightening the community. The prevalence of cancer is on the increase, once detected early, the outcomes are also much more positive, thanks to new treatments and therapies."
“As a medical student, I want to give young people the information they need to understand cancer and the opportunity to discuss it openly. Up to half of the cancers are preventable. My ultimate goal is to help students reduce their risk of developing cancer by advising them on diet and fitness as well as improving their awareness of key symptoms. I want to empower young people and show them that while cancer is a horrible disease, we can all take steps to reduce our risk."
“It disturbs me that one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer at some point during their lives. And while there is no cure, modern medicine is enabling men and women to get tested, treated, live with and manage this illness. This is what I want to achieve before 2025," said Naisoi.
Three years ago, her initiatives on the importance of breast cancer and early detection started gaining ground at the institution as many students started making inquiries.
Students now show their support for the breast cancer warriors and those who lost loved ones to the disease.
"Students can make pink bracelets to help raise awareness at Egerton University. Some of the students help me distribute pink ribbons among the 20,000 Egerton University fraternity. This 'Wear a ribbon to increase awareness' is my greatest joy as students honour friends, colleagues, and loved ones who have been diagnosed with breast cancer; encourage mammograms and early screening," said Naisoi.
Today, no event at the Njoro based campus would be complete without her name appearing in the list of the invited guests.
"All the events including high-level educational forums, sporting events, online conversation, campus birthday parties, I take part in my "Wear Pink Ribbon" campaign," said Naisoi.
Thanks to her efforts, pink, the traditional colour for the awareness month, is increasingly becoming more visible throughout the university.
"When I attend these events, I not only educate communities around Egerton University but inspire hope for our students, faculty, staff and alumni who may have been touched or have survivors of this illness."
"I encourage all students to be aware of the symptoms of breast cancer and to conduct regular self-exams and receive preventative screenings," she added.
The Egerton University School of Medicine is providing important information on this topic to help the campus community and residents of Njoro make informed decisions on how to reduce their risk of cancer and how to spot the signs and symptoms early.
"Naomi is doing an amazing job," said director Institute of Women, Gender and Development Studies at Egerton University Prof Rose Odhiambo.
"This initiative is important because many students have family members and friends who have been affected by breast cancer, and when Naomi spearheaded such a campaign they all came together to show support for them. It makes us proud to see them take part in such a campaign," said Prof Odhiambo.
Prof Odhiambo says lack of awareness is the core concern and there is also stigma and misconceptions and understanding about cancer, that all cancer cases are incurable.
Prof Odhiambo said: "Involving students in cancer awareness campaigns strengthens cancer detection and prevention strategies at an early age, creates education opportunities for shaping health behaviours into adulthood and also encourages discussions between students and their guardians as well as relatives."
Naisoi's prayer and wishes are that perhaps one day the cure for breast cancer will be found at Egerton University School of Medicine Labs.
Source: Nation Media Group