During 15 months Dany Estevão fought against leucemia. An unequal struggle that ended in his demise.

The saddest part is that I’m forced to stop living my life, going to school, having friends… I always wanted to go to college, to have a profession, to be someone. When I think of my family in Cape Verde, my heart is full of anguish, I wanted so much, one day after all this had passed, god willingly, to be able to help them because I know very well how difficult life can be in Cape Verde.

Dany EstevãoThe Dany Foundation is named after Dany Estevão, a Capeverdian boy who lived till the age of nineteen years old. After a long and hard struggle of 15 months he eventually died of the consequences of leucemia. Dany was a promising student coming from a poor family background. His mother had passed away four years earlier. He was an evening student attending tertiary schooling in São Vicente, Cape Verde and preparing himself to eventually go study in Lisbon. During the daytime he had a job to pay his studies and to help out at home. Grace Beatriz, a friend of Dany, tells the story:

“Through some mutual acquaintances I heard about Dany and his deteriorating health. As I got even more details about his situation I felt an increasing connection with Dany and everything he and his family had to endure. I very much wanted to help in any way possible although I myself live in Haarlem in the Netherlands. Dany was eventually transferred to a hospital in Portugal because the doctors in Cape Verde could not diagnose his disease. Three days after he arrived there, I flew to Lisbon from Holland to visit him in the hospital. He did not know me and I had never met him before, but from that day on I never left his side.

A long battle began. A battle against cancer. The doctors had diagnosed Dany as suffering from acute leukaemia. One year I have fought with Dany against this terrible disease. But it was an unequal battle that Dany ultimately lost on the day he died, the fifth of december 2003. Besides physical pain Dany also suffered a lot from being all alone during most of his stay in Portugal, an alien country for him in which he felt very isolated. Dany put some of his experiences on paper and I promised to write a book about his struggle and his sorrows based on his own words and also on the diary I was keeping during that time. Dany also wanted this book to help put the spotlights on all seriously ill people in Cape Verde like himself who can’t be adequately taken care off in their own country. This book has been published in Cape Verde in april 2005 by my own financing. And I have personally promoted this book and it’s message among the Capeverdean migrant communities in the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Portugal, Italy and the U.S.A. Everywhere I came I got a warm reception and people were very much moved by the contents of this book.

It was Dany’s dream to build a pension in Lisbon especially for Capeverdean patients. A place that could function as a safe haven, so that these patients would feel at ease and maybe even temporarily forget about their illness and their worries. I want to continue this dream. I feel that after the writing of a book about Dany’s suffering and the international promotion of this book that the new Dany Foundation will be a further step in making this dream eventually come true.”

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