KCPE star Mary Mutua succumbs to cancer after battle


Mary Mutua’s dream was to beat the disease and help other children suffering from it.


Mary Kamanthe MutuaMary Kamanthe Mutua, who scored 415 marks in the 2018 KCPE exams at Amani Primary School in Mikindani, is pictured smiling on November 21, 2018 despite receiving news of a cancer diagnosis. PHOTO | LABAN WALLOGA | NATION MEDIA GROUP


Mary Mutua, a star of the 2018 Kenya Certificate of Primary Education exams, has succumbed to cancer at Coast Provincial General Hospital in Mombasa County.

The parents of the bright girl who suffered from bone marrow cancer had been planning to fly her back to India for treatment.

Kenyans were moved to make donations for Mary’s treatment after the Nation published her story in March.

They gave more than Sh700,000 so she was started undergoing chemotherapy after initial treatment in India.

She returned after her parents ran out of money.


The 14-year-old was diagnosed with the disease about three weeks before the start of the national examinations.

In October 2018, businessman Josephat Mutua hid all the medical files that showed his daughter was sick

Mary topped her class with 415 marks out of 500 and emerged the best at Amani Primary School.

But the joy that came with news that she would join a top secondary school was short-lived as her father broke the news that she had the disease.

Mary’s dream of attending Bunyore Girls’ High School in Vihiga County was delayed as she had to seek medical attention abroad.,

The Ministry of Education had, however, assured her of a slot in a national school of her choice upon recovery.


Mary’s parents said they kept the secret because they did not want her stressed as she prepared for the tests.

Mary, a first born and the only girl in her family, cried after learning she had the killer disease but resolved to fight it.

Her father sold everything he had to raise enough money for her to receive medical attention in India.

When the Nation last spoke to Mary two months ago, she said the chemotherapy was going well and that she looked forward to joining secondary school.

“I will fight this disease. I will achieve my dreams of becoming a doctor. I want to help other children suffering from cancer,” she said as she laughed her heart out heartily. “I thank Kenyans, my parents and friends for praying for me and standing by me. It is now my turn to fight.”

Following news of Mary’s death, residents of Mikindani expressed their shock in gatherings and on social media.

A neighbour said, “She had been fighting bravely. She improved only for us to learn that the succumbed to the disease. Why, God? Why has cancer stolen our bright star [sic]?”


Mary’s father said he had already contacted the HCG Cancer Centre in Mumbai.

“They told me I could send her there without the money and I could pay later. We wanted her to stabilise for a flight and go back to India for the chemotherapy,” Mr Mutua said.

The father of three said his daughter had been undergoing chemotherapy at Aga Khan Hospital in Mombasa since March.

He told the Nation that after the procedure, which was conducted in cycles of five days under the in-patient service, Mary has shown signs of recovery.

“She was okay after the first, second and third cycles she was okay. In fact, during the second cycle she was improving and even managing my shop,” he said.

“But in the fourth cycle she started getting worse. She began vomiting and feeling dizzier and more sickly. She could not swallow anything as she had wounds in her mouth and throat.

Water was her only food.


On the night of May 17, May was rushed to the CPGH and admitted.

A lab test found that she had a throat and mouth infection.

Mary’s condition worsened as her blood level and platelet count dropped.

“I looked for donors who gave blood but she later developed breathing problems. Yesterday, I was called by the doctors who wanted to take her to an Intensive Care Unit to monitor her pressure,” he said.  

“An ambulance came and rushed her to the ICU at 11pm on Monday. But at the casualty are, while waiting for the doctor, she started having breathing problems so they supplied oxygen. The doctor told me her heart has swollen and that her lungs had fluid, but as they prepared to take her to ICU, she died peacefully.”

“In the ambulance she was her bubbly self. She told me to buy her chips. I rushed to buy the food but she had only one piece.”

Mary died at 5.59pm on Tuesday. Her father asked the public to help him foot the Sh1.3 million bill.

Her body to the Pandya Memorial Hospital morgue.


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