Woman loses 10 children, adopted child to sickle cell disease

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Jane Akinyi, a 58-year-old woman from Homa Bay County, knows the depths of grief and loss since she tragically lost all ten of her biological children to sickle cell disease, a painful genetic disorder that affects red blood cells.

The woman recalled how her husband called her “mother of witches” where he accused her of being the cause of deaths of their children. Akinyi also narrated that the man is now nowhere to be seen since he quietly disappeared from the homestead.

The heartbreak began early in her motherhood as she narrated that, “My first child died in my hands when I rushed him to the hospital at the age of six and a half years,” Akinyi narrated.

Successive losses followed, with children passing away at the ages of four and five. None of her biological children, except for the lastborn, lived to see their tenth birthday.

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“My first child died in my hands when I took him to the hospital at the age of six and a half years. The next died at four years and another at five years. None ever reached the age of 10 years except for my last son, who died in 2023 at the age of 16,” narrated Akinyi.

“I took him to medical clinics frequently as the doctors had advised me. He used to respond to treatment well and raising him was smoother compared to the others. I had began burying my sorrowful years when he celebrated his 10th birthday,” Akinyi continued to narrate.

The immense strain of these tragedies ultimately fractured her marriage. Akinyi’s husband, unable to cope with the repeated loss, left their home. He reportedly blamed her for the children’s deaths, accusing her of being a “mother of graves” and even resorting to unfounded claims of witchcraft.

Despite the immense personal cost, Akinyi’s spirit of compassion has not been extinguished. She has since adopted a nine-year-old boy. However, her adopted son was diagnosed with sickle cell disease, mirroring the same condition that took her biological children.

“I am trying to be strong because my friend advised me to embrace the past and celebrate life and the gift of a nine-year-old son that I adopted. The nine-year-old also has sickle cell anaemia. I try to be strong for him,” Akinyi disclosed.

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