Jane Okoth's Homecoming

After a brave battle with breast cancer, our mother, Jane Frances Okoth, passed away on Thursday, March 1, 2018. From our first moments with her to our last, she nurtured us, she protected us, she loved us, and she mothered us. We could never repay her for this, but one way we hope to honor her is to fulfill her dream of returning to Uganda. This is proving to be a difficult feat, so we are reaching out to her family and friends in hopes that you will help us realize one of her last wishes.

Jane was educated at St Mary’s College, Namagunga and then at Makerere Medical School in Uganda. Not long after becoming the second woman to complete medical school from her tribe, the Jopadhola, our mother was forced to flee a turbulent Uganda. Praying her daughter Simone’s crying would not alarm the authorities, she snuck across the Kenyan boarder while pregnant with her son, Pinto. As a physician, she was one of few Ugandan refugees able to find work, and she supported more than her own family in those trying times. Through determination and more than a bit of luck, she was relocated to the United States by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

With only what we could fit in our suitcases and the love and support of family, friends, and the church we made our way to Metuchen, NJ and then Harrisburg, PA, where Lawrence and Paul were born, completing our family. From Harrisburg, our family moved to Lewisburg, PA, where our mother began a two-decade long career at the Federal Bureau of Prisons, providing health care to some of the most vulnerable members of our communities. She was forever grateful for the personal and professional relationships she forged at her posts in Lewisburg, Philadelphia and New York.

In recent years, she was enjoying semi-retirement and was beginning to imagine how she might return to Uganda to practice medicine there, as she intended to do from her first medical training. She founded a non-profit and hoped to offer health care services to people from her village affected by Sickle Cell Anemia. After her diagnosis, she expanded her idea to include providing mammograms, therapy, and pain management to women in the village.

We, her children and family, want to take our mother home to Uganda, and we are asking for your help. A memorial visitation will be held at Trinity Church on Saturday, March 10, 2018 at 4:00 pm at Trinity Church, 33 Mercer Street, Princeton, NJ 08540. A memorial service will begin at 5:00 pm, and a reception will follow from 6:30 pm to 9:00 pm, both also at Trinity Church.
From there we intend to move the celebration of mom’s life to Uganda. This will not be easy, and we are hoping for your help covering funeral services in the United States and in Uganda, as well as transportation for our mother, Lawrence and Paul. We would be forever grateful for contributions of any size. And we hope it goes without saying at this point, we are so thankful for the love and support of friends and family in recent times.

With love,

Her children,

Simone, Pinto, and Paul

Donations

 See top
  • Annuciata Akongo 
    • $100 
    • 35 mos
  • Atu Agawu 
    • $100 
    • 35 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $30 
    • 35 mos
  • Sheena Bailey 
    • $50 
    • 36 mos
  • Jane Dobkin 
    • $50 
    • 36 mos
See all

Organizer

Simone Awor 
Organizer
Princeton, NJ
  • #1 fundraising platform

    More people start fundraisers on GoFundMe than on any other platform. Learn more

  • GoFundMe Guarantee

    In the rare case something isn’t right, we will work with you to determine if misuse occurred. Learn more

  • Expert advice, 24/7

    Contact us with your questions and we’ll answer, day or night. Learn more