By Bose Adelaja
Madam Akpan Sarah is a 62 year-old widow who hails from Ibiono Ibom Local Government Area in Akwa-Ibom State. She worked as a nanny with a Lebanese couple until 2008 when she retired. She had planned to use her savings of N400,000 to set up a small-scale business in the city. Arrangements to start the business were in top gear when Madam Sarah suddenly took ill and has since then, been in and out of the hospital.
Madam Sarah was diagnosed as suffering from breast cancer by doctors in a private hospital in Lagos. After undergoing surgery in the hospital, Madam Akpan recovered very fast. Doctors attributed her rapid recovery to the fact that she kept all her appointments and took her medications.
But the recovery process was stalled when Madam Sarah, having spent every kobo she had, could no longer keep appointments with her doctors nor buy the prescribed drugs. Her health started degenerating again and this prompted her 28-year old son Uwemedimo who worked as an office assistant in a company to come to her financial assistance.
The young man who had saved about N400,000 which he hoped to use to fund his tertiary education, had no option than to forget the ambition and spend the money on his mother’s treatment. But the money was like using a tea cup to empty the contents of a swimming pool as it did no go far before it was expended on the sickness.
Uwemedimo told Vanguard Metro VM that sometime in May, 2011, his ailing mother was referred to the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital LUTH, where she has been on admission since then. She has gone through Chemotherapy and Radiotherapy and the good news was that she was satisfied fit in August 2011.
She was therefore discharged by the hospital but has remained there since then because of his inability to foot the hospital bills put then at N165,000.
Uwemedimo told VM that his mother’s ailment also marked his own downfall. According to him, it was difficult for him to combine the task of taking care of the 62-year-old widow in the hospital with his secular job. He was therefore relieved of the job about four months ago and things went from bad to worse for the family.
Vanguard Metro was told that Madam Sara’s hospital bills has risen to over N500,000 while her health is also degenerating. Uwedmedimo lauded the management of LUTH for their patience with them and appealed to kind-hearted Nigerians to come to their aid to settle the bills.
Uwemedimo who visited Vanguard corporate office recently to solicit for financial assistance from well meaning Nigerians, was filled with grief as he narrated his ordeal.
‘’I am a native of Ibiono Ibom Local Government Area of Akwa-Ibom State. I live with a relative in Ajah My mother was diagnosed as having breast cancer in 2008 and her left breast was removed after a surgery. She was unable to attend her treatment appointments regularly due to lack of funds and as a result, the cancer spread to other parts of her body.
Since September 2011, she has been having pains on virtually every part of her body and this led to the swelling of the left side of the face which later affected her left eye. She is now weak and unable to walk properly.
The little savings I had in my account for my academic pursuits and the money collected from few family members have been spent on her treatment in the private hospital before she was later transferred to LUTH on May 16, 2011.
She went through Chemotherapy and Radiotherapy treatment. Presently, there is an improvement compared to her condition before she was taken to LUTH. I am her only son and go to LUTH daily from Ajah to attend to her because she cannot do it herself with her broken arms. I am finding it very difficult to either feed myself or pay for my transportation to the hospital. This has made me to resort to begging to survive.
I appeal to kind -hearted Nigerians to help me financially to enable me pay for the hospital bills and take her home. She was discharged by her doctor three months ago but could not go home because of unpaid bills of N500,000 (Two Hundred and Fifty Thousand Naira),’’ Uwemedimo pleaded. Uwemedimo can be reached on 07066905955.