Veteran Kikuyu singer and producer Julius Kang'ethe, popularly known as Bylaw, is appealing to well-wishers to help him raise funds to seek specialised medical care in India.
The 54-year-old musician, who burst into fame in the 1980s, was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 2009. It is an inflammatory disease in which the insulating covers of nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord are damaged.
Famed for his 1980s hit song Nyina Wa Kiune (Kiune's Mother), Bylaw has struggled with the condition for years before it was properly diagnosed. The artiste, who still runs his music shop in downtown Nairobi, is now confined to a wheelchair as the disease has taken toll on his hands and legs.
"Before my condition was correctly diagnosed, I had spent hundreds of thousands of shillings in various hospitals in and out of the country but I did not get correct medication. The many tests I did since the 1990s had not shown the exact ailment I was suffering from, not until 2009. I then embarked on Internet research that revealed that the condition is indeed treatable, through a process known as CCSVI surgery. This was after so many medics had ruled out any chances of ever getting a cure for the disease," he told Word Is.
He has since contacted India's Apollo Hospital, whose medics have assured him of treatment via surgery. However, the fees required is far beyond his reach.
As an in-patient, he was asked for $10,000 (Sh850,000) minus travelling costs. The artiste has, therefore, organised for a fund-raising event on November 2 at the Blue Springs Hotel on Thika Super Highway, Nairobi, starting 6pm.
"I want to be back on stage performing for my beloved fans. I miss my guitar and the microphone," he says.