RESTORE Ghana 2017 Blog: Day 3 – “The C-word”

By Eleanor Hartley

I have witnessed first hand the cruel curse of cancer. An enduring void left within my family and my heart, changing my fate and my future forever. But the unrelenting care and compassion of the doctors and nurses was to shape the person I would become and led me on my path here today.

Developed societies are privileged with sophisticated healthcare systems able to support both the complex cancer treatments and care, but cancer is a disease affecting all races, countries and ages. Therefore it comes as no surprise that during the RESTORE foundation’s mission we encountered so much of this vicious disease, which eats away at not only one’s body, but also one’s sense of self and pride.

One case resonated with many of the team, that of Anna* who demonstrated just how saddening the circumstances can be for many Ghanaian people living below the poverty line.

Anna found a lump in her breast at the young age of 14 and bravely underwent removal of the cancerous mass. She was referred to specialists for radiotherapy; however, the family was unable to meet the high treatment costs. Skipping forward 13 years to today, we meet 28-year-old Anna. She had found another breast mass and so travelled in the hopes of seeing Dr. Michael K. Obeng on his RESTORE mission to Ghana. A mammogram was advised at a nearby hospital in order to establish a care plan. But once more the price of her health was just too high – and she simply could not afford the scans.

Dr. Michael K. Obeng was so moved by Anna’s story he took $50 from his white coat pocket to pay for her mammogram. But the results brought bad news and as the afternoon rainfall dampened the ground, our spirits were drowned at the stark realization that the intense care Anna required would be yet again out of her reach.

This case demonstrated how the deprivation of money and resources are destroying people’s fate, tearing away the chance for their lives to be saved. Had she had the means for her treatment almost 14 years ago, Anna may not have been so desperately seeking our help here today.

This story is just one of so many encountered by the RESTORE team of doctors, nurses and volunteers during our mission at First Care Hospital. A However, the teams collective dedication to restoring hope and rebuilding lives has manifested in the number of incredible procedures undertaken by Dr. Michael K. Obeng and our talented group of surgeons (Drs. Atila, West-Coffee, McLean, Schlenker and Hoyte-Williams) and our incredible anesthesiologist, Dr. Freeman.

From extensive breast reconstructions, tumor removals to skin grafts and scar revision, the RESTORE team has pledged to fight back at cancers physical and emotional scars, rebuilding the lives of the relentlessly strong and victorious survivors.

Our mission is to RESTORE both function and aesthetic form in order to empower those affected by scars, disfigurements and disease. Restoring a sense of self, pride and dignity to those who fight boldly through the circumstances that life has forced upon them.

Together with your support and donations the RESTORE doctors and volunteers are able to stand up to cancer – and many more life changing diseases and conditions. Handing back the power to those patients who lost hope, empowering their goals and dreams and restoring Ghana’s health and prosperity.

Please visit the RESTORE website:

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And please DONATE on our website. No amount is too small. All donations are tax deductible.

RESTORE is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization.

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