Eugene Gasana Jr. wasIn 2011, when he was just thirteen years old when, in 2011, he, Eugene Gasana Jr. was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma. His mother, Agnes, discovered noticed a very small lump on his neck that was later biopsied and later found to be an enlarged lymph node. Although the initial biopsy was inconclusive, it turned out that the node was cancerous. Hodgkin lymphoma is a cancer of the lymph nodes. Cells begin to grow abnormally and as the disease progresses, the patient’s ability to fight infection is compromised. Fortunately, this is one of the most curable cancers, with upwards of 90 percent of younger patients restored to health following treatment.
Hodgkin lymphoma is cured by a process of ‘dose intensification’ with substantial dosages of chemotherapy and radiation used to eradicate the cancer cells. Eugene was treated by Dr. Tanya Trippett, a pediatric oncologist at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York with intensive chemotherapy and radiation therapy. The treatment was effective and Eugene was able to go back to school in September 2011.
WhileThe 80 percent of children with pediatric cancer are cured in the United States, that figure iscure rate remains less than 10 percent for children in developing countries. countries as compared to the 80 percent of children cured in the United States. Moved by his own experience and good fortune, and realizing that many African children suffer without adequate cancer care, Eugene was determined to help provide the same quality treatment that he received to children in his east-central African country of Rwanda. He enlisted his oncologist, Dr. Tanya Trippett from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, and his parents, Ambassador Eugène-Richard Gasana, the Permanent Representative of the Republic of Rwanda to the United Nations, and Agnes Gasana, to help, soon co-founded the Eugene Gasana Jr. Foundation. The mission of the Foundation is to honor this wish to provide quality cancer treatment for children in countries with little or no access to care. Under the sponsorship of the Foundation, a dDesign tTeam has been created and led by world- acclaimed architect David Adjaye., The team has produced OBE with the Launch planned for early 2016 for the construction of a plan for a 94-bed world-class international pediatric cancer center located on land donated by the Gasana family in Kigali, Rwanda. Construction will begin in 2016 for the hospital that will soon serve the cancer needs of children in the east African region.
Eugene is a wonderful example of a child afflicted by a terrible disease who has decided to is giveing forward to others the same opportunity he was afforded to be cured of cancer. It is his caring and compassionate vision to bring health care to children in needall that that is the driving force behind the Foundation. Using the concept of “intellectual philanthropy”, the Foundation has assembledHis vision animates the work today of a wo a world- class dDesign tTeam, striving to make his wish come true including including his doctor, his parents and family, leading architects, engineers, and professionals from diverse disciplines spanning the globe. At eighteen, he Eugene is very actively involved in making his vision dream a reality.