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Donald's Cancer Journey

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For the first 14 years of his life, Donald Dziruni struggled with Xeroderma Pigmentosum (XP), cancer & blindness. Today, Donald has hope. 

Learn more about Donald's Cancer Journey at: 

Donald was born in Mutare, Zimbabwe on the 22nd of December, 2002.  He began to develop normally until it became clear that something was wrong.

In June, 2006, when Donald was only 3 years old, his Father passed. Tragically, Donald also lost his Mother two months later; he became a double-orphan.

Donald’s Grandmother cared for him for the next ten years, but by the time Donald was 13, she, at 87, could no longer cope with Donald’s challenges.  By March, Donald could still walk without assistance, however his overall condition continued to decline. Already partially blind, cancer continued to riddle his face, head and tongue; Donald could no longer attend school and was forced to drop out.

In February, 2017, Donald’s family took Donald’s story to the media in hopes that the public may assist. You can read the original ZBC story below:

Spare a thought for cancer patients
He has never enjoyed childhood as he was in and out of hospital beginning at the age of three and now at 14 years Donald Dziruni who suffers from a condition called ‘Xerodema Pigmentosa’ is a school dropout as the condition is worsening with each new day.Xeroderma Pigmentosa is a rare condition passed down through families in which the skin and tissue covering the eye are extremely sensitive to ultraviolet light.

The condition of pigmentosa has become a thorn in the flesh for Donald having lived with the condition for 14 years.

The condition which was diagnosed at the age of three has now worsened and as a result he is now partially blind.

The pigmentosa disease has become full blown deforming his face and head.

The disease has begun slowly to destroy his lips and despite five separate operations which were carried out to try and manage the condition, he is getting worse day by day.

Worse still, Donald is being looked after by his aunt who is blind and all her savings have ran out.

Mrs Helen Dziruni, the aunt, is pinning her hopes on the intervention of well wishers.

Like any other child, Donald still believes that his dream to become a nurse or an engineer can be realised, but that wish can only be fulfilled once he gets medical assistance.

His uncle Mr Kenneth Dziruni together with other family members have tried to get help from local health institutions and even churches but to no avail.

The family is now appealing for financial assistance as the hospital bills have become too heavy.

For the past 14 years his desire to live a healthy life has just but become a pipe dream.

It has been pain and more pain for him day and night.


Vice President Mphoko and the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) learned of Donald’s struggle and formed a special team to address the situation.  Health experts, researchers and specialists from around the world were consulted; within weeks, an approved support plan and observational study commenced with the consent of Donald’s family.

In March, 2017, Donald’s traditional treatment protocol began at Chitungwiza Central Hospital near Harare, Zimbabwe. The effort, overseen by Specialists, Traditional Medical Practitioners, Ministry of Health and OPC officials was successful. Donald was admitted at 23 kg. He suffered from severe multiple cancerous open malignant tumours and sores on his lips, face, head and tongue. Within the first 30 days, not only had his weight doubled; his skin, mouth, vision and overall condition remarkably improved.

Supervising CCH Internal Specialist, Dr. W. Nyamayaro outlined Donald’s “overwhelmingly encouraging” progress in an update report requested in April, by the OPC:



Background Information
Xenoderma pigmentation is a rare disorder transmitted in an autosome recessive manner. It is characterized by skin that is extremely sensitive to light (photosensitive skin) with pigment changes and showing tendering to premature aging and malignant tumor development. The defect is in the DNA damaged by UV radiation. No curative medicine exist but management include adequate solar protection by use of sunblocking creams and clothing. The disease carries a poor prognosis with less than 40% of the affected burning beyond 20 years and mean age of skin cancer is 8 years.

Donald was admitted from Parirenyatwa Hospital after having developed a malignant tumor on his lower lip. Most convention treatment modalities had not yielded much positive results. Now he has been started on traditional cannabinoid therapy under the guidance of Jason Bowman which includes the use of some herbal creams, drinks, sprays and special diet amongst other things.

The progress made so far within a month of commencement of the medication is overwhelmingly encouraging. There is early evidence of the tumor shrinking and also an improvement in the state of the skin as a whole.

We hope the young boy’s condition continues to improve and hope to fully achieve the intended goal which is to cure the patient.

Kind regards

Dr W. Nyamayaro

Donald was discharged from CCH hospital in August, 2017 by V.P. Mphoko, the Health Minister, and CCH C.E.O., Dr. Moyo; he returned to Mutare and continued treatment from home.

In November, 2017 sudden changes in government overturned the OPC project respecting Donald. His treatment became at risk. Today, left without access to his diet and medicine, Donald’s vision and skin continue to deteriorate once again.

Today, Donald and his family need your help in order to continue his treatment. Specialists and those treating him have not abandoned hope, but without funding, Donald can not continue his healing journey.
We have started a trust fund for Donald in order that his treatment continue and so that we can help to fund his living expenses and education.

We are thankful to those who have put our names to, committed to study, developed the protocol, and commenced Donald’s treatment.  Diligent observations and reports have been collected and published. Our main priority remains that a suitable case management plan remain in place for Donald.  We are most thankful for your show of interest and support.

Thank you.

Connect with us at  for updates and detailed information.


How you are related to Donald?

Jason Bowman was introduced to Kenneth (Donald's Uncle and Legal Guardian) and Donald in Zimbabwe last March by the former Vice President, Mphoko and the Minister of Health. I have been acting as agent and Donald's fundraising coordinator for the family since Kenneth signed consent for me to lead a team to care for him. I act as a volunteer, and do not accept personal payment for any work done for Donald or his family.

Who can withdraw funds?

Unfortunately, Kenneth (Donald's caregiver) can not access funds raised for him from within Zimbabwe.  Severe cash shortages and strict Bank withdraw limits make caring for Donald extra challenging.  Jason Bowman can withdraw funds in Canada in order to pay some expenses for Donald and his family from his Paypal and online Tangerine Bank accounts.

How do you deliver the funds to Donald and his family? 

When U.S. Cash is required on the ground in Zimbabwe, by Donald's family, it is easily transferred via Western Union.  This way, Kenneth can retrieve U.S. cash at locations in Zimbabwe without lineups or excessive withdrawal limits.  There is a small fee, we try to pay as many expenses from Canada as possible. 

What are the funds raised used for?


Many foods, and items Donald urgently requires can not be purchased in Zimbabwe.  We need to send send cash via Western Union to Kenneth for travel and food expenses. 

Donald will need a passport and visa to leave Zimbabwe for treatment. He will also require airfare and living expenses once relocated.

Long Term:

Doanld requries special education and long-term care.

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Donald Dziruni
Alliston, ON

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