By Chioma OBINNA
FROM the moment Emmanuela Okechukwu was brought into the office of Nigeria Down Syndrome Foundation in Lagos, her sobs and restlessness gave her mother a tough time. She constantly dabbed her eyes with a soaked handkerchief.
Tiny as she is, Emmanuella was a handful. She coughed and sneezed intermittently. Everyone present could see she had difficulty breathing. Her cry didn’t sound like that of any normal baby, it was more like croak.
While medical experts at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) have confirmed that she has three holes in her heart, Emmanuela is also battling with Down Syndrome, another congenital condition.
Emmanuela was said to have been delivered 11 months ago at the LASUTH,alongside her twin brother who is certified fit.
But fate has decideed to deal her a big blow instead. The birth of the twins rather than add joy to the family, has only brought pains, blames and regrets.
At the moment, the family is on the verge of breaking up. Narrating her ordeal to Good Health Weekly, Mary, Emmanuella’s mother cried that her child is running out of time in search of N2.5 million required to mend the holes in her heart. The treatment is to be carried out in an Indian hospital.
Mary tells her tale of woe: “I had given up my teaching job because of her condition. You can see how restless she is. Nobody can take care of her except me. She needs extra care. Sometimes, I feel really tired but I have to carry on because there is nobody to assist.”
She said Emmanuela was discovered to have three holes in the heart after three months of birth but up till now, nothing could be done since the couple cannot afford the money required for the surgery.
“At birth, she and her twin brother, had jaundice which kept us for 14 days in the hospital. I was hoping the holes would close after sometime but the doctors say surgery is the only solution. I don’t want her to die. I have suffered enough”
She called on Governor Babatunde Fashola and well-meaning Nigerians, NGOs and corporate organisations to come to her daughter’s aid.
“It has not been easy especially, when you find yourself in a family that does not care. Sometimes I wonder where the strength to carry on is coming from. As at the moment, I am on the verge of losing my home because of this child. I appeal to Nigerians to help me and my child. I have been going from church to church for assistance. Please help save Emmanuella.”
If you are moved to assist Emmanuella, kindly obtain more details from Vanguard.