Lorna Irungu: A victor who lived life despite the odds

“I live my life every day with passion, doing the things I love,” that was the forever Mantra for communications professional and a committed social activist Lorna Irungu.

Lorna succumbed to Coronavirus on March 22, 2021, at the Karen Hospital, Nairobi, while undergoing treatment and was cremated on March 23, 2021.

From the onset of COVID-19 last year, Lorna adhered to the basic coronavirus protocols and focused on protecting the lives of those at risk of serious illness. In the meantime, rigorous COVID -19 protocols have been put into action at her home to protect her family, friends, and staff from exposure to the virus.

The former NTV presenter was an effective team captain who continuously provided leadership especially during President Barack Obama’s visit to Kenya in 2018 by handling critical clients. A year later, she served on the boards of the African Leadership Institute and World Reader in Kenya. She then completed her term on the advocacy Accelerator Advisory Board in the same year.

Lorna began her career as a performing artist and won the Phoenix Theatre award for stage performances. She later moved to the TV scene, where she was a host for Club Kiboko and Omo-Pick-A-Box on KTN and KBC respectively. In 2002, she worked on a movie – Dangerous Affairs, which comprises an all-Kenyan production cast as well as the team. She also supported the film’s marketing and PR efforts.

Later on, after she was chosen to be in the first class of MNet Initiatives,  she moved to behind the camera.

In 2003, she represented Kenya by producing Rastar, a movie that featured at the Zanzibar International Film Festival.

She also worked at Tamarind Group where she served as Entertainment Manager.

In 2007,  when the first season of Tusker Project Fame kicked off, she served as Project Manager. The show cut across three countries: Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania.

For the past two decades, Lorna continuously fought an autoimmune disease – Lupus. The disease saw her undergo three kidney transplants between 1998 and 2008. Lupus, a long-term autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system becomes hyperactive and attacks normal, healthy tissue.

“My family is my greatest support system. They have always been present,” she said in her 2012 Ted Talk. Lorna always emphasized the importance of surrounding oneself with the right kind of people who believe in you and support you in all ways.

Lorna’s family as well as Kenyans remember her for her undying victor spirit as well as the impact she made in society.  To continue her legacy, her family has proposed to set up the Lorna Irungu-Macharia Foundation which will majorly be dedicated to two causes: the improvement of health policies and support for people living with autoimmune diseases, and the advancement of the rights of women and girls leadership and politics.

By Everlyne Bosibori

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