Eva Wambui and Hope & Bags was founded following my 15-year-long battle with leukemia with the goal of empowering fellow sufferers of the disease. Every handbag in my collection represents a different chapter of my story; keep reading to discover how I never let hardship deny me of hope.
My story began in Kenya but I truly embarked on a life-changing journey in the US. After months of feeling fatigued and suffering from fainting episodes, it wasn’t until I was required to take a physical examination for my job that I discovered I had leukemia. “Ok… so what vitamins do I need to take?” was my initial response to the confused doctors. They asked if I knew what the steps were following a cancer diagnosis and I proceeded to tell them bluntly that “you die”. I was sent to a psychiatrist. After naively surfing Google for supplements that might cure me (and subsequently feeling disheartened), I agreed to see a psychiatrist. Together we visited a children’s hospital where many of the patients were plagued with this cruel disease yet still so positive and full of energy. I knew there was a lesson to be learned there.
Immensely determined to overcome my illness, I was keen to start chemotherapy. There was just one obstacle: how would I pay for it? My psychiatrist assured me that we would find a way and I went ahead with the treatment. He accompanied me to every appointment and that was when our bond blossomed. It was extremely comforting to have him by my side since I hadn’t even told my family at that point. The next chapter was a whirlwind of emotions. My psychiatrist found a sponsor for my treatment and I came clean to my parents about my diagnosis who reassured me with words that got me through relentless rounds of chemo: “You will beat this. It isn’t a death sentence”. There were dark moments too. Being unexpectedly abandoned by my boyfriend was tough, but not as gut-wrenching as being evicted from my home.
I’m forever grateful that my psychiatrist helped me get my home back but of course, that wasn’t my biggest battle. I didn’t know how long the journey ahead was, which resulted in 15 years of being in and out of remission — a time in which I never let go of hope. Fast-forward to now and I’m cancer-free and have launched my dream handbag brand!Characterized by bright colors and bold patterns that not only reflect my African heritage but also aim to incite joy and positivity, my collection is designed to inspire fellow cancer warriors and anyone who is struggling in life. Just like my mom told me, a diagnosis isn’t a death sentence and it doesn’t have to strip you of determination if you don’t let it. And I consider myself as living proof that hope can prevail.