History and initiations

Mathiwos, the third and youngest son of his parents Mr. Wondu Bekele and Mrs. Amsale Beyene, was born on June 17, 1999 (Sene 9, 1991 Ethiopian Calendar) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Until he celebrated his second birthday he was very healthy, energetic and his growth was corresponding to his age. A few days after celebrating his second birthday, he un-expectedly became very ill, and after clinical investigation he was diagnosed with ALL-type Leukemia.


He had been under treatment at Black Lion Hospital for 26 months.  Even though there is no conducive environment for cancer treatment, the staff of Medical Faculty of Addis Ababa University, commonly known as Tikur Anbessa Hospital/Black Lion Hospital/, tried everything at their disposal to save his life. Due to lack of cancer medicines here in Ethiopia his family was forced to import from overseas almost all of the very expensive medicines that were recommended by his doctors.

Due to Mathy’s family unreserved, all round commitment and dedication and cooperation of personnel of the Medical Faculty, Mathiwos was widely believed to be one of the best-treated patients ever in the hospital. Because of this Mathy was seen as a good reference and hope to most cancer patients in Ethiopia. After 22 months of comparative improvement, unexpectedly it was found out that the disease has relapsed, accordingly the Medical Board of the Hospital decided that there was no proper medication left for Mathiwos here in Ethiopia and refereed him to  abroad for possible Bone Marrow transplant which is not possible in Ethiopia and in Africa except South Africa and Egypt.

After intensive search for overseas treatment possibilities in South Africa, Europe, India and North America, National Cancer Institute (NCI/NIH) of Bethesda, MD, USA agreed to accept Mathy for further treatment option including Bone Marrow transplant. Mathy accompanied by his mother and his elder brother, Yonas (donor) was about to fly to Washington D.C, U.S.A. All necessary conditions for the trip such as round trip air ticket, accommodation, visa, etc have been arranged. Before they leave, unfortunately, Mathiwos passed away on September 24, 2003, while he was under treatment at the Black Lion Hospital.

A group of people of different races and nationalities from three different continents, many of whom without knowing each other, tried together everything that is humanly possible to save his life. Even though their concerted efforts couldn’t save Mathy’s life, the group, without being frustrated by the unexpected outcome, decided to strengthen and consolidate their efforts to honor him and his cause, and as a result established Mathiwos Wondu-YeEthiopia Cancer Society/MWECS/.www.mathycancersoc.org

The Mathiwos Wondu-YeEthiopia Cancer Society (MWECS) was established at the first General Assembly meeting of the founding members held on April 17, 2004. The Society secured its legal personality through a certificate of registration bearing the number 1382. MWECS is an Ethiopian Resident Charity and formally licensed and re-registered in accordance with the Charities and Societies Proclamation No. 621/2009, for next three years from March 21, 2016 to March 20, 2019

MWECS is proof positive example that one family truly can make a difference. MWECS have been enjoying productive leadership & support from general assembly & board of directors, 22 dedicated & committed staff. The society has been transformed in to more transparent & accountable stage, with more than 960 members, 120 volunteers implementing six projects, one on pediatric cancer, two on women cancers, two on tobacco control & one national cancer control plan.MWECS  at present support 90 pediatric & 95 women cancer patients without including their accompanying families. The society covers cost of medicines and diagnostic laboratory services not provided by the Black Lion Hospital, transport from and to their regions and food support while the patients are under treatment at the hospital.MWECS has declared its commitment to become actively involved in assisting the government and the society in every possible way, to help make a difference in the outcome of a cancer prevention and treatment and to take part in the national effort, by filling the gaps that the government alone is not in a position to handle.