For Collins Mwangi Kiama, the 19-year-old Nanyuki Boys High School student who scored a B+ in 2019 KCSE exams, it was not an easy journey having been in and out of hospital after his lungs collapsed.
Collins, who aspires to study medicine at the University of Nairobi if given a chance, uses an oxygen concentrator machine for eight hours during the day and a Resmed Stellar 150 ventilator machine for six hours at night.
The teen has also been taking nine different drugs daily, including an inhaler, for the last four years.
But despite his condition, Collins was among to top 10 overall special needs candidates who received high praise from President Uhuru Kenyatta, through Education Cabinet Secretary, Prof George Magoha, on Wednesday, during KCSE results release.
In 2016, Collins was offered admission at Utumishi Academy in Gilgil but could not report because of his medical condition.
According to his mother, Edna Kiama, her son scored 407 marks after sitting his KCPE exam at Nanyuki Boarding Primary School but could not join a boarding secondary school because of his condition.
When Collins was in Class Six, Edna said one of the doctors who examined him told them that her son’s heart was on his right side of the chest instead of the left.
But after consulting several other doctors, it was established that the heart was not the problem, but his lungs.
Edna said Collins’s condition worsened after he underwent circumcision. During the procedure, he collapsed and thereafter developed pneumonia.
For Collins’s education, help came from Utimishi Academy principal who contacted his colleague at the Nanyuki Boys High School, Edna said.
The Nanyuki principal agreed to admit him after seeing his KCPE results.
This made Edna’s work much easier for she could take Collins to school in the morning, pick him up in the evening.
And every day, Collins had to do an hour in the gym to keep fit.
Collins told K24 Digital that at the school, his teachers and colleagues were very supportive.
In each class he used, Collins said the school ensured he had an electricity socket to power the oxygen concentrator.
When in hospital, Collins said teachers would send him notes in a flash disc and he would download everything to his tablet and study them from the hospital bed.
Collins, who hails from Ichuga village in the outskirts of Nanyuki town, was among the top 10 students with disabilities given high praise by President Uhuru Kenyatta.
His grandfather, John Kiama, a former accountant at Laikipia East District Commissioner’s office, said they have been encouraging the boy to be steadfast and focused.
His medical troubles have seen him admitted to Nairobi Women’s Hospital, Kenyatta National Hospital, among others but that did not daunt his will.
For now, the family has appealed for assistance to ensure he realizes his dream to be a medical doctor at his school of choice, The University of Nairobi.
Collins told K24 Digital that should he become a doctor, he intends to help others facing similar challenges overcome them.