Medical expenses

Kalenga is a graduate student based in Ithaca in her second year of study in the Field of Horticulture at Cornell University studying under Dr. Chris Watkins where she is doing research on postharvest quality and shelf life of sweet potato cultivars as affected by curing efficiency.  She is in the US from her home country Zambia.  Her family is in Africa so she has no family with her.  She will be in Rochester for the foreseeable future, removed from her local Ithaca friends and colleagues. 

At only 27 weeks pregnant, Kalenga underwent an emergency C-section.  She gave birth to a beautiful baby boy, Shema.  While Kalenga was at 27 weeks, Shema only measured 23 weeks due to a lack of oxygen.  Shema was born weighting only 1 lb 5 oz.  

Shema will be in the NICU at a hospital in Rochester for at least 5 months and will probably require significant medical care after he is released.

Despite having medical insurance her insurance will only cover 90% of her and Shema's care.  She will be  responsible for the other 10%. 

Due to the care that Shema will require we are unsure when Kalenga will be able to return to Graduate School in Ithaca.  We are raising funds for medical expenses, after-care expenses for Shema, and living expenses for Kalenga until she can return to Graduate School.


  • Alan Lakso
    • $100 
    • 6 yrs

Organizer and beneficiary

Bridget Cristelli
Ithaca, NY
Kalenga Banda

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