Dear Friends and Supporters,
I hope this letter finds you well! We have not met each other yet, but I have heard many wonderful things about you from my best friend and colleague Cheeky, who you have been supporting through HeroRAT training. My name is Nala the HeroRAT. I too have been training in Tuberculosis Detection at APOPO, and you may be wondering why you are hearing from me, and not Cheeky.
Unfortunately, it is with great sadness and regret that I am writing to inform you of the sudden passing away of our beloved Cheeky. Here at APOPO’s Tuberculosis Detection Center, we are all coping with the sad loss of such a promising young rat. The cause was believed to be a stomach bug, a problem that is occasionally faced by all rats – but his passing still comes as a great shock to us all.
A tireless and dedicated HeroRAT, Cheeky was committed to his mission of curbing the spread of Tuberculosis in Tanzania. He and I spent plenty of time together as we progressed through training. Because we were at the exact same stages in our training and were introduced to the program at the same time, the APOPO team has done me the honor of introducing me as your HeroRAT in Cheeky’s place.
It will be difficult to follow in Cheeky’s pawprints, but I hope you will continue to honor his mission of reducing the spread of Tuberculosis by supporting me, Nala. Although it will be a bit different from reading Cheeky’s updates from our TB Detection Center, I think we can become a great team!
We are grateful for your ongoing support of APOPO’s work and, despite the sad news, we can still move forward in reducing the number of TB positive patients left undiagnosed. Thank you for making it all possible – Cheeky, and now myself, could not do it without you!
Love and whiskers,
Nala the HeroRAT