In 2019, Dr. Nordquist and his UCC team developed a friendship with Dr. Furaha Serventi, an Oncologist in Moshi, Tanzania. Dr. Luke was looking for a way to honor his patients. What started as an expedition to summit Mt. Kilimanjaro with the UCC Flag signed by hundreds of patients and the families of former patients, turned into a new Mission for Dr. Luke and his UCC team after the introduction of the two Oncologists. A lasting Friendship developed and a new Mission to share knowledge , experience and the means was forged. The bond between the two centers has strengthened. Drs Serventi and Masenga, Executive Director of the Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Center (KCMC), traveled to Omaha, NE in 2019 to spend time with Dr. Nordquist and his team. The two centers have regular video chats learning the ins and outs and needs of each other’s programs. UCC donated funds and supplies to KCMC to assist with COVID relief.
Dr. Nordquist, Director of the Omaha Cancer Foundation, and his son Thomas (16yo) have also been raising funds for KCMC to build a family housing unit to allow patients the ability to stay at the center while under going treatments. Currently patients may have to walk over 10km to receive cancer care treatments. Many patients don’t continue or proceed with treatment because of this. The death rate for cancer in Tanzania is 80%. They have access to the right treatments. It is just difficult to get the patients to the center. KCMC is building the housing facility to help remedy this issue. The housing center o 24 families at one time while they receive their treatments. Also in this housing center will be a school for chronically ill children who have prolonged hospitalizations or are children of cancer patents that are staying in the housing facility during their cancer treatments. Currently the make shift classroom is in a small hospital room. Yet they have educated over 100 children in the past 2 years.
In 2020, Dr. Nordquist returned to Tanzania with his son, Thomas. The purpose of the trip was to again summit Mt. Kilimanjaro but more importantly to present the leadership of KCMC with the first check for the construction of the cancer housing facility and for Thomas to experience the wonderful giving nature of the Tanzania people. Many patients have to walk over 10km to receive cancer treatment so many do not continue on treatment. The cost of the center is estimated at $250,000 (US).
A very valuable part of this mission is to develop relationships with the people of Tanzania. It is refreshing to experience these wonderful people who live in extreme poverty and yet with so little still smile, lead happy lives, and offer so much to others.
After 6 days of climbing, on Aug 4th , 2020 our team reached the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro, Uhuru Peak (19,341ft).
To DONATE to the Omaha Cancer Foundation and their Mission to assist African Cancer Care call 402-991-8468. Ask to speak with Gary Glissman or Dr. Luke Nordquist