By Chris Onuoha
After 12 years of pains from severe bowing of both limbs, which made her to drop out of school in the Senior Secondary School (SSS) Form 1 in 2016, there is a ray of hope for 17-year-old Ijachi Blessing Maria if only she is able to raise N2.5million for surgery.
Born to Mr. and Mrs. Ijachi of Otada Local Government Area of Benue State, Blessing, who was born and has lived in Lagos all her life, started having problems with her legs from the age of two and a half years.
“By the age of three, when the pains, as my mum told me, were becoming too severe, I was taken to the General Hospital, Ikeja and referred from there to the National Orthopaedic Hospital, Igbobi, Lagos”, she narrated.
“Igbobi prescribed a surgery for me at that age and my dad was required to donate blood for me for the operation but he was sick at the time and subsequently passed on.
“We couldn’t raise the money after my dad’s death, so, it was impossible for us to go back to Igbobi for the operation”.
But even with the pains, Blessing managed to go through elementary school and then her Junior Secondary School (JSS) at Ikeja Junior Secondary School, Oshodi, Lagos.
Meanwhile, the pains and level of deformity worsened as she grew older and it eventually became impossible for her to walk to school daily, sit all through in the class and walk back home.
She dropped out of school in Form 1 at the Ikeja Senior Secondary School in 2016.
“It was a very painful end to the education of an academically promising child. Blessing was brilliant and quiet, and she was doing very well. Obviously, she was one of the best of our students and one we knew, if nothing went wrong, had a bright future ahead of her, but the cruel hands of life got hold of her and took the shine off her. Both teachers and students paid several visits to her to see how we could get her back to school but it proved impossible as it was something beyond us. She could not just continue to come to school in her situation, and alone with just a mother, who was barely managing to survive,” her class teacher in the school, who declined to have her name in print, remarked of the little girl then.
But recently, the girl returned to the National Orthopaedic Hospital, Igbobi, Lagos to explore the possibility of a remedy to her ailment.
Doctors at the hospital did not only confirm that but carried out all required tests that gave her hope of treatment at a cost of about N2million, exclusive of post-surgery expenses.
The hope-raising medical report signed by Dr. Izuagba Emeka B., Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon, Padiatric Orthopaedics and Limb Reconstruction Unit, NOHIL, dated March 26, 2019 and entitled: Re: Medical Report on Ijachi Blessing Maria/ Female/17years, Hospital No. 639273, states: “The above named patient of our hospital was first seen on 17/09/2018 with complaints of severe bowing of both limbs of 12years duration. There is associated knee pains, difficulty in walking or running.
“She initially presented to the hospital 7 years ago for treatment but defaulted as she could not afford the cost of the required surgery. The deformities have since progressively worsened up to the present state.
“On presentation, she was thoroughly re-examined and a diagnosis of severe Bilateral Infantile Blounts disease to rule out skeletal dysplasia was made following clinical assessment and X-ray imaging studies.
“She requires a surgical treatment of gradual correction of lower limb deformities using Ring Fixator/Taylor Spatial Frame due to the grotesque nature of the deformities.
“A surgical assessment has already been given to her detailing the cost estimates required for the surgery.”
Blessing, who needs about N2.5million for the surgery and associated treatment, appeals for donations from good spirited Nigerians for help as she begged for contributions to John Blessing Maria, GT Bank Account No. 0468466784.