Anguish for Kenyan family in US as daughter succumbs to injuries sustained in car crash in Maryland


A Kenyan family in US is in anguish after their daughter succumbed to injuries she sustained after being involved in a car accident three years ago.

8 year old Bella Achieng’s passed away on January 31, 2018 after her heart stopped beating at the Children’s Hospital of New Orleans.

Bella’s remains were cremated on Thursday and the family will be holding a memorial service in Maryland where they lived before the accident.

Bella’s father Felix Oduor and mother Keisha Nwaigwe Oduor had given everything to save her including selling their house holding fundraisers and pursuing insurance companies to raise money for her.

The family’s ordeal started on December 8, 2014 when Mrs Oduor was taking Bella to school. The roads were icy due to the freezing temperatures and in that moment, their vehicle skidded from its lane to oncoming traffic.

Their car was struck by another motorist causing Mrs Oduor to sustain broken legs and a fractured hand.

Layla escaped unhurt by Bella suffered serious injuries despite the fact she was strapped with a seat belt.

She suffered injuries on the two bones that connect the spine with the skull. To make matters worse, she had a heart attack on her way to John Hopkins Hospital, causing a brain injury.

“They gave her 24 hours to live because anybody with either one of the injuries usually dies on the spot and if they survive, they usually pass away in 20-48 hours,” Mr Oduor told the Sunday Nation.

Bellas was transferred to the New Orleans hospital where she could receive advanced care.

The Oduors spent more than $100,000 (Sh10 million) on her rehabilitation but almost three years later, she lost the battle.

She was never able to regain her speech and her brain could not coordinate her bodily functions but defied the doctors’ predictions for almost three years.

Her medical journey was full of ups and downs with signs of improvement on one day and a turn back the next.

The journey has drained the family financially but they have no regrets.

“In the beginning, we were taking money from our savings; everything we had for our retirement,” he told the Sunday Nation. “We had a house and sold it. We also sold everything we owned.”

“Bella was a happy child. Everybody knew her. Nobody knew us. Everybody knew us as Bella’s parents,” he said.

Mr Oduor said that the experience has left him wiser and it has taught him to appreciate life.

The couple is now planning to start an NGO to help parents faced with a similar situation.


Mr Oduor whose family hails from Siaya came to the US in 2000 on a student visa. He met his wife Keisha in the US and they got married on August 14, 2008.