Farewell to our friend, Chris Gelken, 1955 – 2014

“What counts in life is not the Mere Fact that we have lived. It is what Difference we have Made to the Lives of others. That will determine the Significance of the Life we Lead.“ – Nelson Mandela


On 4th April 2014, we lost our Best Friend, Chris. It was a Black day for the Hands of Action Uganda Staff.

Chris Gelken, Journalist, gave us Advice and helped us with Publicity

I befriended Chris of Ridealist Productions on Facebook on November 3rd 2010. It’s now been almost Five Years but I have not remained the same. Most of the steps Hands of Action Uganda has made is due to Chris’ guidance and advice.

Chris made countless contributions to Hands of Action Uganda.  He trained me how to use Facebook, which I didn’t know well at that time. He also helped to set up our page in the names of Hands of Action Uganda.

He conceived and developed the Hands of Action Child of Uganda program, an art project with our local school children designed to help the Orphans in Bududa District. He has been among the friends behind the Orphans Feeding Program. And with his wife Shirley Han Ying, he produced Teach A Man To Fish, a documentary for the purposes of empowering the Bukibokolo Community.

Chris linked us to very Important People who have made us proud. He helped Hands of Action Uganda to get where it is today by linking us to Marcia Bujold, who has volunteered with the designing and updated of the Hands of Action Uganda Websites and Blog. He linked us to a very important person, Leigh Thorsen. Leigh is our Consultant in different areas, and we have won several Grants because of her expertise, including that of USAID. Another important person we connected with through Chris is Gabriel Saftescu, who he has been in charge of the web domain for Hands of Action Uganda.

Chris was diagnosed with stage IV non-small-cell lung cancer in July 2013. He went through more than 8 months of traditional and complementary cancer therapies, and fought every step of the way. On April 4th, 2014 he died of kidney failure related to the illness in hospital, and was later buried at the Rochechouart cemetery near his home in central France. Chris remains an inspiration to anyone who chooses to live life on their own terms.

Even while fighting his illness, Chris had planned to visit Hands of Action Uganda to help People who are sick with cancer in Uganda.

Chris, you will be missed by my Family, by the Hands of Action Uganda Staff, and by the Children you have been Caring for.


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3 Responses to Farewell to our friend, Chris Gelken, 1955 – 2014

  1. David and Patricia Damsell says:

    Pat and I would like to say how sorry we are to hear of Chris death former husband of our daughter Karen in Newzealand 1989

  2. Deborah lunnon says:

    Hi l’m Chris sister debbie and l just to say that l share some of your work that you do . As Chris showed me every think when l was in hospital with him Nuresing him with his wife Shirley .yes it is Chris death annaivesry tomorrow .want to say thank you for letting me look at some of the children’s pic .especialy of the the praying for Chris gelken my brother .from his sister Deborah

  3. Marcia Bujold says:

    Dear Deborah,
    I’m so happy that you wrote, and share your sadness at this anniversary of Chris’s passing. I learned a lot from Chris – he set a high standard for us to follow. I met him online only, but we worked together long distance on one of his many video projects. A caring person, he is remembered by many for his generous heart and professional excellence.
    All the Best,
    Marcia Bujold

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