By Sola Ogundipe
On April 14, 2014, when Andre Udele and his twin sister were born at 26 weeks gestation at R-Jolad Hospitals, Gbagada, Lagos, they were given little chance of survival.
Although the twin sister did not make it, miraculously, Andre survived but his condition remained critical and he was transferred to Lifeline Children Hospital, Surulere and placed in the neo-natal unit.
Ever since, the battle for survival has been on. Several months later, he was diagnosed with a potentially hazardous condition called Stage 4 Retinopathy of Prematurity, ROP, a very delicate condition that requires quick intervention to prevent total blindness. But the condition requires N12 million to correct. Andre’s parents who have been running from pillar to post ever since, have spent all their money and sold off all property to raise funds for his hospital bills.
Sunday, the father who narrated the plight said after discharge, they started noticing abnormalities in Andre’s eyes, which got them really worried. He was taken to Paediatric Partners, in Victoria Island and later referred to The Eye Doctors’ Hospital where outcome of the checks showed that Andre had Stage 4 Retinopathy of Prematurity, ROP, a very delicate condition that requires quick intervention to prevent total blindness.
A medical report signed by Dr. Atinuke Uwaje of Paediatric Partners Ltd., Lagos said Andre was evaluated by the ophthalmologists who made the diagnosis of ROP.
Uwaje said following the diagnosis, the parents were advised to seek expert management in the UK to prevent him from going entirely blind.
They managed to raise funds to traveld to India where another scan revealed that traditional surgery would no longer be suitable.
They returned to Nigeria, kept searching for help and finally came across the Beijing Shiztentang Hospital, that has achieved remarkable improvement which uses stem cell treatment for several similar ROP cases.
Andre is presently over 2 years old and eligible for treatment, but the bill for this procedure which is about $30,000 ($25,000 for treatment and $5,000 for travel expenses) is the barrier towards Andre regaining his sight.
The challenge of his eyesight is really impeding his growth and development. Presently he can only stand on his own and walk with a few steps but can do little else on his own.
“We need your kindhearted financial support to make our dream of restoring our baby’s sight come true,” Sunday pleaded.
If you are touched to assist Andre, kindly send your donations to this account: Udele Andre Vincent, First Bank 3109256378. For further details, please contact 08030604258.