“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).

Allan is fifteen. Two years ago, his father left and didn’t come back in the way that fathers sometimes do: a packed suitcase by the door, roughly-tied shoelaces, quiet where there was once sound.

A year later, Allan’s upper thigh started to swell.

He didn’t tell his mother. He couldn’t. In the year since his father’s leaving, she’d become unreachable. Every small hurt — a phone that should ring but didn’t, an unset place at the table, the smooth skin on her finger where her wedding ring used to be — had compounded into a long and deep silence around her. Now, her body was more bone than muscle, and Allan was afraid of losing her.

“She is all my siblings and I got,” he explains.

When his swollen leg started throbbing, Allan had to tell someone. He chose his uncle. He made him promise not to tell his mother.

Together, they went to the nearest health centre where the secret Allan had been keeping got a name: an inguinal hernia. The doctor said it was serious. Something that needed surgery and stitches. Something that Allan couldn’t hide from his mother any longer.

But, now he’d be handing her two worries: his health and the cost of helping him. He couldn’t do it. He wouldn’t.

That’s when he heard about BethanyKids.

When he finally told her, he promised she wouldn’t have to pay.

“I have convinced her that the surgery is free, and she will not pay a shilling,” Allan says. “If you need money, I am willing to forfeit school and work as a cleaner here to pay for the hospital expense.”

Allan wants to see his mother healthy again. He wants to complete his education and give her a good life. But, to do this, he needs to get well.

“My only plea is that you help us if there is a way.”