Kenya: KCSE - Cancer Survivor Emerges Top in Special Needs Category

Miriam Chepleting, a cancer survivor who had her right leg amputated due to the disease, has every reason to smile following the release of the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) exam results on Monday.

The 18-year-old was singled out for praise by Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha after she emerged the best countrywide in the special needs category.

Ms Chepleting, who sat her national examinations at Moi Girls High School Eldoret, scored an A of 84.886 points.

She attributed her sterling performance to her friends and teachers who supported her and ensured she managed daily chores in school with ease.

"I'm really so happy with the results. I was not expecting such results but I want to thank God," said Ms Chepleting.

Bone cancer

In 2015, her right leg was amputated after she was diagnosed with osteogenic sarcoma, a rare type of bone cancer.

She recounts that in 2014, while in Standard Six, she experienced a mild pain in her right leg which later turned into severe pain and was diagnosed with stage one bone cancer at the Aga Khan Hospital.

In 2015, after the cancer progressed further, doctors at Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital (MTRH) amputated her right leg.

Now, six years after she had her leg amputated because of a cancer that threatened not just her leg, Ms Chepleting wants to study medicine.

The 18-year-old wants to specialise in oncology at university, the branch of medicine that deals with the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer, in what she says will give her an opportunity to save lives as hers once was.

Save lives

"I want to raise awareness about this condition to save more lives because most people don't know about this disease," said Ms Chepleting, who attributes her cancer-free status to early detection and diagnosis.

Ms Chepleting, whose school fees was paid by both the Kenya Pipeline and the Association for the Physically Disabled of Kenya (ADPK), now wants well-wishers to help her realise her life-long dream of joining one of the Ivy League universities to pursue a career in medicine. ADPK also gave her a prosthetic leg which she now uses following the amputation.

Ms Chepleting's performance in the KCSE exams did not just start at Moi Girls High School in Eldoret. She scored 403 marks in her Standard Eight final examinations at Fountain Grammar Academy in Matunda.

Celebrations at home

On Monday, there were celebrations at her homestead in Kipkekei village in Cherangany, Trans Nzoia County as family and friends sang traditional songs after Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha announced the results.

Ms Chepleting was not only the top student in the special needs category, but she also posted impressive results that put her among the best and brightest learners in the country.

Her mother, Ruth Jepchumba, said that her daughter was hardworking and urged parents with children with special needs to support them in realising their dreams.

"I am really happy with her results. I knew she was going to perform in the academics since she was hardworking," said the mother of five.

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