Bongre Anton Peter

Bongre’s Haus Krai destroyed

The couple’s three-year-old son Bongre Anton passed away last Friday from a rare form of cancer for children – retinoblastoma, which had affected his right eye.

What else could go wrong?

Little Bongre’s family home and haus krai were all burnt down this morning, allegedly by a group of policemen in a form of retaliation.

According to Peter Bongre’s father, a policeman, alleged to be drunk, was beaten up by a group of local boys following an argument.

​3yo Bongre passes away

This has been confirmed by the members of the ‘Save Bongre’ fundraising drive, which was raising funds to support him.

The three-year-old succumbed to a rare form of cancer for children – retinoblastoma, that had affected his right eye.

It became his parents’ nightmare over the last two years.

Bongre’s story caught the country’s attention when mother Sinta and father Anton brought him to Port Moresby in search of answers.

​Bongre’s plight highlights poor health system

And in the most recent case, three-year-old Bongre’s sad end to a two-year search for answer has once more shone light on the poor health system of the country.

Bongre’s story attracted public attention when it hit social media.

In fact, Simbu Children Foundation’s volunteer Michael Williams, who’s been directly involved with Bongre, says the toddler’s story touched more than 59,000 people around the world.

And it has gone to show how an innocent child’s life has been stolen by cancer, because the country still lacks special equipment.

‘I live with tears every day’

Sinta reflects on the few years with her firstborn son - Bongre.

She, a young woman from Hagen, married a man from Goroka, few years older than her, in 2011.

3 years later, she gives birth to a healthy baby boy, who they will call Bongre.

But Sinta says her first birth wasn’t an easy one - she had about 36 stitches.

Nevertheless, Bongre was the perfect baby.

At 1 year, he was very chubby and had fair skin. Sinta says everybody in the village took turns carrying him; she hardly held her own child.

​Bongre returns home

He was diagnosed with Stage 4b retinoblastoma.

He flew back at 3pm yesterday afternoon, with parents Sinta and Anton Peter, where he was met by Simbu Children’s foundation president, Jimmy Drekore.

SCF will be offering palliative care to Bongre.

This is the first SCF and also the first palliative care implemented in the country.

“Palliative care is more like welfare care,” said Michael Williams, SCF volunteer.

Sad end to a two year search

But is this the answer his parents wanted to hear after years of searching?

Bongre has been undergoing a number of scans at the Pacific International Hospital’s radiology section, over the last few weeks.

The results confirmed the three year old has Stage 4b Retinoblastoma.

Retinoblastoma (Rb) is a rare form of cancer that rapidly develops from the immature cells of a retina, the light-detecting tissue of the eye. It is the most common malignant cancer of the eye in children, and it is almost exclusively found in young children.

​Toddler robbed of eyesight

Bongre Anton Peter however, is a three-year-old that has been robbed of this opportunity.

He has been living with a cancerous growth around his eye for two years now.

"He used to see with both eyes, but the growth around his right eye has completely blocked off his sight in that eye," said mother, Sinto Peter.

"It doesn't pain a lot but it passes pus and blood," she said.

This is a factor behind Bongre's low blood supply, which has also forced the toddler to be less active.

The boy and his parents are currently in Port Moresby seeking medical help.

In search of answers…

Bongre was born a perfect baby boy to the young woman from Simbu and husband from Goroka.

But what began as a sore eye in 2015 has developed into a cancerous growth around his right eye, in just under two years.

From modern hospitals to traditional glassman, Bongre is now in Port Moresby, still in search of answers to the growth around his eye.

When the last hospital Sinta and Bongre went to said nothing could be done except seeking help from a church community, that’s exactly what they did.