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Carol Atuhairwe is by now fairly well-known for her four year struggle with cancer. The vibrant and beautiful Carol has some kind of special pull on people. Her home, despite the difficulties involved in accessing it, is always crowded by family and well-wishers coming to pay homage.

On this Thursday afternoon, there are six people patiently waiting for Carol that has been stuck in traffic for the last two hours. Finally the little black gate opens and without ceremony Carol walks in smiling and looking vibrant. There is that word again which seems very odd being used to describe a cancer patient. But the truth is Carol looks very vibrant, strong and glowing. Without the scars and tubes no one would ever guess the fact that she has been down for the past four years.

Left without the use of her voice, Carol has learned to communicate with her eyes, her smile and her soul. Her warm smile and the tranquil intelligent gaze speak directly to the soul.

“Learn to just be. Be happy. Be grateful. Calm down; God has everything under control.”

Was she always this content, was she always this wise? Maybe; maybe not. But Carol has taken the saying that “when tragedy hits you, you ought to be improved” and run with it.  She has taken all the disappointments, pain and misery and used them to better herself. In her Teletubbies sticker decorated, tiny bedroom where she receives all her visitors, Carol looks stronger, wiser, happier and healthier than most of her normal peers.

Her family too exhibits that kind of quiet strength and inexplicable confidence in life.  They are undoubtedly the source of her strength, hope and poise.

Her cancer battle has left a lasting impact on the whole family. Providing care and support, dealing with stress and grief, managing finances have not been easy.

Schedules had to change, arrangements put in place, plans altered in order to provide the necessary care for Carol. “We are closer than before, our faith in God has been made even stronger.” Her elder sister Jacqueline Atugarurirwe told Shespell.com.

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Of her sister Carol writes on her blog

“I was called in the doctor’s room. I remember I went with my sister who hadn’t left my side since 2011. It was now 2014. So my good doctor delivered the news it was hard for him considering what I was going through. He told me I had cancer of the lungs. I think he didn’t see any chance of surviving this. But we were both torn down. He asked us to pray a little prayer. We prayed and as soon as we finished our tears were dry.”

From the initial shock, the journey for this family has been long, exhaustive and trying but it has also been rewarding with divine moments that keep them going.

One of these moments is the ongoing #SaveCarol nationwide campaign. This is what Jacqueline Atugarurirwe had to say on her sister’s sickness, her family, and the humane spirit of Ugandans.

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“As a family we have come to realize that love is the greatest gift indeed. When you surround the sick with love, it changes their thinking. True cancer is a deadly disease but our God is the author of life so there is no need for fear if you are a believer.

We have learnt to embrace and appreciate each day as it comes. We are always thankful, we view life positively and we love with all our might. We do need each other. Whenever possible, we should reach out to the sick and needy because today its Carol tomorrow it might be you. Instead of fighting lets unite and focus on the things that build us, that elevate us as a nation.

Ugandans have big hearts, we love and care deeply. I can’t even find words to eloquently describe the spirit, the love and care Ugandans have for each other. I know, sometimes we fight, sometimes we are frustrated and want to run away from this country, we wish were like this or that country but at the moment when it matters we come through for each other and show how deep and generous the Ugandan spirit is. It is in those moments that I know that nothing will ever break down the strong humane foundation and beauty of this pearl of Africa.  And it is in those moments that I can hear a deafening echo of every woman, man and child saying For God and my country. God bless every one of you that has stood with us in anyway; your prayers, thoughts, kind words, encouragement, financial support, donations of any kind; without you we would have nothing. You have restored my sister’s and my family’s hope, may our father the creator of heaven and earth reward you generously.”

Carol’s prayer

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“I am asking God to do me one last favour. Oh God I wish this comes soon. I crave tasting food, drinking water, having a normal life like other people. Maybe I get a job, then never to cover my neck to hide my pain. That will be my joy scars, my warrior scars, courageous. I wish all this ends. I stop sitting on my bed day by day. go out some times , visit my friends , take trips etc . Oh God make this last dream come true.”

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