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2020 Christmas Giving

Updated: Mar 14, 2022

Leah Okeyo and Global Peace Train team up to deliver food to 12 Kenyan families for the holiday season.

Leah delivers food to women in her community in Kisumu, Kenya.

"My heart is melting. I'm feeling well from deep down in my heart!" - Leah Okeyo


Kenyan Christmas Gift

December, 12th, 2020

Leah Okeyo has been a shining light guiding so many through dark times; now is the time to reciprocate and prove that love is, indeed, always the answer.

As some of you may know, when COVID 19 emerged on the global stage, Leah Okeyo underwent a hysterectomy to remove a tumor near her ovaries. After returning home Leah’s health plummeted. She returned to the hospital and was rushed into emergency surgery after finding a much larger mass growing into her colon. Specifically, Leah was diagnosed with Colon Cancer which spread to her ovaries. Colon Cancer is common and is the 5th leading cause of cancer-related deaths worldwide.

Leah remained in the hospital for a month and a half in Kenya. She is currently nearing the end of her chemotherapy treatment. As you can imagine, the two surgeries and long hospital stays have been expensive without full health insurance, and Leah and her family could use all of the financial support they can get.

Leah’s 2nd to last chemotherapy treatment is on Christmas Eve which means she will not be well enough to cook the yearly feast that she typically offers the families in her community. This year Leah requested help raising $500 so she can buy rice, beans, sugar, flour, tea, fruits, and veggies for 15 families. And We’ve made the goal $300 more to help lighten her load this month so she can focus on her recovery.

100 % of your kind donation will go directly to Leah to buy food for up to 15 families on December 23rd before her chemo treatment. All funds beyond our goal will go directly to Leah and her family to help deal with the financial repercussions of her current condition, so they can focus on healing and supporting one another.

UPDATE 12/30/2020: Thank you to everyone who donated! Leah bought enough groceries for 12 families for Christmas. This project was certainly needed not only for the families but also for Leah as she faced her second to last chemotherapy treatment. Leah wrote to us on Sunday about how she felt buying and delivering food to her community:

"My heart is melting. I'm feeling well from deep down in my heart!"

Any final donations that come in will go directly to Leah to lessen her burden as she finishes her treatment. She has expressed an interest in sharing any of these last donations that come in today with a woman named Mama Mike who runs a small community store (photo of Leah with her at the fruit/veggie stand). Leah says Mama Mike works really hard to support her family and that she wants to help her with some capital for her business.

Thank you all for giving the gift of giving to Leah this year!

UPDATE 7/15/2021: We are heartbroken to report that Leah passed away on July 8th, 2021. She was a joyous leader who fought for equality and prosperity for women in her community and beyond. It was a joy to work with Leah for more than a decade, we shared a vision of a better world for all and made continuous progress towards that goal. May her dreams live on through Global Peace Train and the continued work of PACHO.

About our work with Leah and her community: GPT helped Leah Okeyo start the PACHO organization in Kenya in 2010. We helped her brand the organization, file necessary paperwork, fund projects, and deliver resources and education to women across Kenya. In partnership, GPT and PACHO helped dozens of women start small businesses with microloans and business education, we delivered food to families in need and brought joy to children across Kenya through immersive art experiences. After Leah's passing, we offered financial support to her family to help pay for her memorial service and remaining medical bills. Leah's memory and efforts will always be a part of the Global Peace Train. Check back for the story she and I wrote about our meeting and one of the first avatars we cocreated named Dollface.

Project Avatar: At Global Peace Train, each of our projects is represented by an avatar that is linked to a specific cause. The avatars are a key part of our storytelling and help make the causes we support more accessible and easier to understand. This project is represented by Rainbow Sparkle Pants.

Rainbow Sparkle Pants hears cries of pain and suffering and helps deliver supplies, gifts, and love to those in need. She was turned into an avatar during an interview with a Lakota woman on the Pine Ridge Reservation. In her culture, puppy medicine is one of the greatest healers!

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