12 March 2018

Rwanda: Surviving Genocide, Cancer at 25, Bugingo Tells All in Her New Book

25-year-old Karen Bugingo on Friday evening launched her debut novel 'My Name is Life', which is a story detailing her struggles as a cancer patient until her recovery.

The book aims at bringing hope and courage mostly to the people battling cancer, pay tribute to those who lost the battle to cancer and young people in general, she says.

Speaking at the launch, Bugingo, who lost both her parents to the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, noted that she wanted people to read her story, be encouraged and look forward to the future no matter what they are going through.

"As I was writing this story, I knew that I was encouraging the young people to also share their stories. "Always remember that the story you are writing is a seed that you are writing in someone's life because you never know how much it will change their lives."

The cancer survivor, at the age of 19, was diagnosed with severe lymphoma (cancer) in her blood.

"I used to wonder why, at 19 years, I was battling cancer but this day tells me this is the reason I was suffering. I have given this book everything, my heart, my soul and today I see the good work and I'm happy and proud of myself."

I look back at the nights when I almost gave up on the idea of writing my story. But, today my social media is full of young boys' and girls' messages telling me how they are fighting some cancer and other real life situations because of sharing my real life story. Writing this novel has taught me so much that I will use in future, she said.

It was published by Imagine We Rwanda - a local organisation.

Bugingo was born and raised in Kigali where both her parents were killed in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi and was raised by her grandmother and aunt.

She is a student, currently pursuing a Bachelor's degree in Journalism and Mass Communication at Mount Kenya University in Rwanda.

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