Ailing Bishop Mutebi: £100,000 paid, admitted, on chemo, needs £90,000 more

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By Samuel Muwanguzi

In Summary: His condition is still more than just critical. But the dark cloud of uncertainty hovering over his treatment is steadily lifting. Previously, King’s College Hospital in London which had demanded a down-payment of £100,000 before admitting the ailing Bishop started the initial treatment even before the deposit was made. The assistant Bishop of Kampala Diocese the Rt. Rev. Hannington Mutebi, 59, was diagnosed with Myeloid Leukemia, an acute and rare form of blood cancer last year. He was flown to London, UK for specialized treatment at the King’s College Hospital last month. The Bishop needed urgent chemotherapy and bone marrow transplant and other procedures if he was to have a second shot at life. Initially, while the Bishop had to deal with an aggressive form of Leukemia, he had also to contend with the lack of money to get admitted to the hospital let alone start the urgently needed care. The longer the treatment delayed, the worse his condition got. Ailing, penniless, and anxious, the situation became increasingly perilous. Desperate? Absolutely. Hopeful? No Question. But with hope, the tide turned for the better. The Bishop is now admitted to King’s College Hospital and is receiving chemotherapy and other procedures. So far, £100,000 has been raised, paid to the hospital, and He has started chemotherapy. But another £90,000 is needed to pay the full amount of £190,000. Before then, however, it was nearly doom and gloom. But an interplay of multiple variables intervened in time to shift the conversation: the Bishop’s condition was worsening by the day; the longer it took to start the treatment, the more desperate his health situation became; his condition placed the doctors and the hospital between a rock and a hard place; the doctors and hospital were encouraged by the Bishop’s positive attitude, the  goodwill of family, friends, and the churches around the world; and the collective fundraising campaigns launched by  Diaspora communities, the Archbishop of the Church of Uganda Stanley Ntagali, and the Archbishop of York  Dr. John Sentamu conspired  to make a difference. The last time we checked, the collective fundraising effort had raised over £100,000 which was paid to the hospital last week. The drive is still underway to raise the remaining£90,000 to pay off the full amount. By every measure, this will come to pass. Speak of a contemporary miracle and here you have it. A combination of factors worked together to turn the gloomy prospects brighter. “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28).

Bishop Mutebi’s life is in our constant prayers. Faithfully, we hope.

The Rt. Rev. Hannington Mutebi, the assistant Bishop of Kampala Diocese seen here before he left Kampala, Uganda for London, UK for treatment last month.

Boston, Massachusetts — The dark cloud of uncertainty that was hovering over the treatment of Bishop Hannington Mutebi, the assistant bishop of Kampala Diocese is gradually but steadily lifting. “Although his condition is still more than just critical, there is light at the end of the tunnel,”a close family friend in London, UK told the EADM in a phone interview Thursday. Previously, King’s College Hospital in London which had denied admitting and treating the Bishop before making a £100,000 down payment Reconsidered its demands and started the initial treatment before the deposit was made.

According to a close family source, the assistant Bishop of Kampala Diocese the Rt. Rev. Hannington Mutebi, 59, was diagnosed with “MYELODYSPLASTIC SYNDROMES (MDS) that transformed into an acute myeloid leukemia (AML-M7 last year.” With Myeloid Leukemia, an acute and rare form of blood cancer, the Bishop needed urgent chemotherapy and bone marrow transplant and other procedures if he was to have a second shot at life. The Bishop was flown to London, UK for specialized treatment at the King’s College Hospital last month. No treatment for this rare form of aggressive leukemia is available anywhere in East Africa. Since his arrival in London last month, Bishop Mutebi, Accompanied by his wife Milly Mutebi, the couple was hosted by the London-based Rev. Nathan Ntege.

Ugandan-born Rev. Nathan Ntege, a resident in London, has been playing host to the Bishop and his wife Milly since the couple arrived in the UK last month.

Initially, while the Bishop had to deal with an aggressive form of Leukemia, he had also to contend with the lack of money (£190,000 deposit) to get admitted to the hospital let alone start the urgently needed care. The longer the treatment delayed, the worse his condition got. Ailing, penniless, and anxious, the situation became increasingly perilous. Desperate? Absolutely. Hopeful? No Question. But with hope, the tide turned for the better. The Bishop is now admitted to King’s College Hospital and is receiving chemotherapy and other procedures.

Mr. Roberts Sekidde, chair of the fundraising committee in Uganda and leader of the Laity in Kampala Diocese where the Rt. Rev. Mutebi serves as the assistant Bishop.

So far, £100,000 has been raised and paid to the hospital last week, according to Mr. Roberts Sekidde, chair of the fundraising committee in Uganda who also doubles as the head of the laity in Kampala Diocese. Before then, however, it was nearly doom and gloom. But an interplay of multiple variables intervened in time to shift the conversation. Speak of a contemporary miracle and here you have it. A combination of factors worked together to turn the gloomy prospects brighter. “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28).

According to Rev. Dr. Alex Kasirye Musoke of St. Peter's Anglican Church of Uganda, Boston, Massachusetts, USA, the intervening factors which came into play and helped to reverse a desperate situation into a more hopeful one were as numerous as they were different. However, three stand out: First, “the corporate prayers by Christians across the world seeking God’s divine intervention in the life of Bishop Mutebi must have played a pivotal role in softening the hearts of the doctors and the hospital management to immediately start treating the Bishop even before the down payment was made,” Rev. Dr. Alex Kasirye Musoke, a close friend to the family of Bishop Mutebi told the EADM in an interview. This view was echoed by Mr. Roberts Sekidde, the chair of the fundraising drive for the Bishop’s treatment when contacted by the EADM on phone on Wednesday.

Bishop Hannington Mutebi during one of his visits to St. Peter's Anglican Church of Uganda in Boston.

Second, Dr. Alex Kasirye told the EADM that because the Bishop’s condition was worsening by the day; the longer it took to start the treatment, the more perilous his situation became. He added that the Bishop’s deteriorating health condition placed the doctors and the hospital management between a rock and a hard place and both were encouraged by the Bishop’s positive attitude, the goodwill demonstrated by the Bishop’s family, friends, and the churches around the world in their outpouring of love and contributions towards the Bishop’s treatment. “The doctors had to do something about the Bishop’s deteriorating health,” Dr. Kasirye said. “Bishop Mutebi's platelets, energy levels and general condition were deteriorating fast,” Rev. Alex Kasirye told the EADM. He added: “Given his deteriorating condition, King’s College hospital and the doctors were compelled to start him on the initial treatment even before a pre-admission deposit was made. Additionally, “the doctors were also impressed with the Bishop’s positive attitude, the response and goodwill of family, friends, and the churches around the world that were fundraising for the Bishop’s treatment,” Dr. Kasirye said.

Rev. Kasirye told the EADM that after the doctors had completed all the tests, they started with blood transfusions on the Bishop as an out-patient before they finally admitted him last week. “Although his body is quite weak, his faith in the healing hand of God and his resilience are making the difference,” Rev. Kasiry said. 

Third, the collective fundraising campaigns launched by Diaspora communities, the Archbishop of the Church of Uganda Stanley Ntagali, and the Archbishop of York  Dr. John Sentamu also conspired to turn the gloomy prospects and a desperate situation brighter. The last time we checked, the collective fundraising effort had raised over £100,000 which was paid to the hospital this week. The international drive is still underway to raise the remaining £90,000 to pay off the full amount.

A cross-section of the congregation at the St. Peter's Anglican Church of Uganda, Boston, USA launched their fundraising drive spearheaded by Rev. Dr. Alex Kasirye two weeks ago.

Meanwhile, several Diaspora communities and Christian churches are heeding the urgent call to help raise the urgently needed funds for the treatment of Bishop Hannington Mutebi. A gofundme site was launched two weeks ago and is still wracking   in contributions towards the payment of the Bishop’s medical bills. In Boston, Los Angeles, and other cities in the United States, Christian churches, especially those where members of the Ugandan-born Diaspora communities constitute a sizeable membership of the congregation, have ongoing fundraising drives to raise money for the Bishop’s treatment. At the St. Peter's Anglican Church of Uganda, Boston, Rev. Alex Kasirye launched the fundraising drive two weeks ago. Although the total amount was not readily available, “whatever is collected every Sunday is sent to the general pool where funds from all sources are received,” a source which requested anonymity told the EADM. In London, UK, Pastor Hakim Semakula and others are also involved in fundraising drives to collect money for the Bishop’s treatment. “There is an overwhelming over pouring of love demonstrated by donors and potential contributors to this cause. We hope the remaining balance will be collected,” another Christian in London involved in the effort told the EADM by phone on Friday.

The Archbishop of York, Dr. John Sentamu (left) and the Assistant Bishop of Kampala, Hannington Mutebi

The global fundraising effort was given a boost when The Ugandan-born Archbishop of York Dr. John Tucker Mugabi Sentamu launched an international cloud-funding drive toward the noble cause two weeks ago. “When Dr. John Sentamu, the UK's first black archbishop and the Church of England's second most senior clergyman announced his international cloud-fundraising initiative, the Diaspora effort got  a timely shot in the arm  because it added the much needed momentum to the process,” an influential Ugandan-born Pastor in the Boston area told the EADM in an interview.

According to the Anglican Communion Office Web site, Dr Sentamu’s crowd-funding campaign is hosted by the Just Giving online platform. In a message to potential donors, Dr. Sentamu said that money raised would be sent directly to King’s College Hospital to pay the medical bill. “Any unspent money will be sent to Cancer Research UK, a leading charity working to find treatments for cancer,” Dr. Sentamu pledged. Since the Church of Uganda had raised over£35000 by the end of last week, Archbishop Sentamu appealed to well-wishers in the UK and around the world to raise the rest of the money. “This means getting as many people as possible to give in this very short time. Every gift will make a difference. I ask you to join me in doing what we can to help,” the 71-year-old prelate who announced that he will be retiring in June 2020 said. The online fundraising campaign on Gofundme is still open and receiving contributions.

the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby also endorsed the cloud-funding drive

Meanwhile, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby also endorsed the cloud-funding drive in a tweet that appealed to Christians and all people of goodwill across the globe to support Archbishop Dr. John Sentamu’s urgent fundraising effort and to hold Bishop Mutebi in their prayers.

The Most Rev. Stanley Ntagali, Archbishop of the Church of Uganda and head of Kampala Diocese is deputized by the ailing Bishop Hannington Mutebi.

In Uganda, the Church of Uganda together with Bishop Mutebi's family and friends led by Archbishop Stanley Ntagali launched a fundraising campaign to save the life of his assistant Bishop of Kampala Diocese.  By the end of last week, Christians and well-wishers of Bishop Hannington’s cathedral and diocese in Uganda had raised £35,000 GBP in only seven days. Archbishop Stanley Ntagali urged all churches in the province to organize fundraising campaigns to help Bishop Mutebi receive the needed treatment. In a letter to all provosts, Vicars/Chaplains, Heads of Laity and Treasurers, the Archbishop called upon the respective church leaders to hold fundraising meetings moments after he launched the campaign at the All Saints Cathedral last week. Archbishop Stanley Ntagali advised donors to deposit their contributions towards the medical bill of the Bishop through the Archbishop's Emergency Fund in Stanbic Bank Account 9030005662663 at Forest Mall, Kampala.

Rev. Dr. Alex Kasirye Musoke of  St. Peter's Anglican Church of Uganda, Boston, a friend of Bishop’s family, has hosted the prelate at his church and is leading a fundraising drive for the Bishop’s treatment in UK.

According to Mr. Roberts Sekidde, chair of the fundraising committee in Uganda that was appointed by the Archbishop Stanley Ntagali, when the various sources pooled the money together, £100,000 which had been realized was paid to the hospital last week. The government of Uganda, which had apparently been missing in the fundrai  CVsing action and tight-lipped about its contribution to the effort, sprang a surprising but welcome offer when it donated £30,000 toward the drive. “The government contributed £30,000 to the Bishop’s treatment,” Mr. Robert Sekidde, chair of the Uganda fundraising effort in Kampala confirmed to the EADM in a phone interview Thursday. By the end of last week, the government of Uganda was still tight-lipped over whether it was considering some form of financial intervention to save the life of the man of God. “We are waiting to hear from the Ugandan government but they haven’t yet responded,” a source in Kampala close to the fundraising campaign had earlier told the EADM.

Reverends and bishops lay hands on Bishop Hannington Mutebi to mark his consecration at All Saints Church Nakasero, Kampala on Sunday, November 10, 2013.

There is, however, still a funding gap to raise the cash needed by King’s College Hospital in London to provide the full treatment to the ailing Bishop that is involving chemotherapy and bone marrow transplant, blood transfusions, and other procedures as needed. “We are now looking for the remaining £90,000 to pay the balance needed by the hospital,” Mr. Robert Sekidde said. He extended his appreciation to those who had made donations and appealed to those who had not answered the call to consider donating to the Bishop’s treatment fund in a timely manner. Echoing similar sentiments, Rev. Dr. Alex Kasirye Musoke of St. Peter's Anglican Church of Uganda, Boston, USA told the EADM that there is still a need for more money to bridge the funding gap to ensure that the Bishop receives all the management and treatment he urgently needs.

Bishop Hannington Mutebi, married to Milly Mutebi, the couple is blessed with five children. Elected by the House of Bishops in August 2012, he became the fourth assistant bishop of Kampala Diocese. He replaced Bishop Zac Niringiye who retired in 2012. Bishop Mutebi is the assistant to Archbishop Stanley Ntagali, the substantive Bishop of Kampala Diocese. Since his consecration in 2012, Bishop Hannington Mutebi has dedicated his pastoral work to the fulfillment of the discipleship ministry with a special focus on youth and women issues. He has also focused his attention on ensuring that the true biblical teachings against the cult and false teachings in the church are central in his ministry.

For now, although his health condition remains critical, his life is in our constant prayers with previous desperation giving way to prayerful optimism. Faithfully, we hope. Hopeful? Yes. Why? “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”(Hebrews 11:1). May the Almighty God have mercy upon him; we trust in His healing power for which He is known to be God and in His abundant love for humanity.

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