By Funmi Ajumobi
Oluwaferanmi Adekeye, full of life till age seven, is now lying helpless and being carried to do everything. She is a pathetic sight that no human with blood running in his or her veins would want to dismiss.
It was clearly written on the face of the mother that her daughter is now standing on a line between giving up and seeing how much more she can do to bring her last born back to life.
Oluwaferanmi, according to the mother, Mrs. Beatrice Adekeye, was diagnosed of sickle cell anemia at age five when she was sick but she had been a child that did not show any sign of serious experience until after her seventh birthday in May 2019.
“I noticed one day on her way from school that she was walking zigzag and displaying behavior like a special need child and when I noticed that the trait continued, I took her to Mercy Children Hospital in Lagos Island where she was given medication”, the mother lamented in an interview with Sunday Vanguard.
Oluwaferanmi is one of her three daughters suffering anemia.
Mrs. Adekeye hails from Oyo State.
“Then she woke up one night when she wanted to ease herself and started crying that she couldn’t stand up and I had to help her on the toilet bowl but she fell.
“That is how the crisis started. I thought she had escaped this genetic blood disorder because she did not show any sign until she was five years old.
“After few months, she started walking and was full of life again. She was even exercising her legs so that she could walk perfectly again until the crisis relapsed few months back.
“I had left her with her siblings to take care of the senior sister who was down with serious symptoms of the disorder too when I received a call one day that she was having crisis again and I had to rush back.
“Now I have stayed with her in hospital for more than two months because she went through surgical operation and dialysis.
“I initially took her to Mercy Children Hospital where she was referred to Lagos University Teaching Hospital, LUTH, for brain scan.
“After the scan, I was told she has stroke and that is why she is paralyzed in both arms and legs.
“She was then referred to Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, LASUTH, where I was told that she will be transfused and that we will need about N480, 000 for a start but I do not even know how much we will eventually spend.
“I signed that she should not be admitted because I did not have the money. “I don’t have anything doing again. She has become the daily business I do because she can’t be left alone.
“I have spent all the money I had and also borrowed when her sister was sick. “Even now, we have not paid three years rent where we are staying and we would have been thrown out but for a lawyer who pleaded that the landlord should consider the situation of the family.
“Now that we have entered the fourth year without rent payment, it is only God that can help us so that we are not thrown into the streets of Lagos soon”.
When asked the whereabouts of her husband and father of her children, she said, “He left us the moment I became pregnant of Oluwaferanmi, claiming that I wanted to kill him.
“I have five children, three girls and two boys for him but all my girls have sickle cell anemia. “I have been running from pillar to post since then.
“It is through the help of neigbours and friends that we feed and many times through the assistance of Women Protection Organisation, WOPO, which informed your organisation about our plight.
“I am begging Governor Makinde of my home state, well-meaning Nigerians and the whole world to come to my aid for Oluwaferami to live a fulfilling life.
“I believe she can still make it if people can come to her aid medically and financially.
“I didn’t know or heard about genotype before I got married, otherwise I wouldn’t have allowed these children to come and suffer what they didn’t cause.
“It was not until my children were diagnosed that I knew what has befallen me.
“I don’t want to lose these children. Oluwaferanmi, in the last two weeks, has stopped talking”.
Sickle cell anemia is a common genetic blood disorder that causes many lifelong problems including pain, fatigue and organ damage.
In the disorder, hemoglobin, an important protein that is present in red blood cells and carries oxygen throughout the body, is abnormal, causing the red blood cells to bend into a sickle-like shape.
These cells become “sticky” clumping together, activating the clotting system in the blood and blocking blood vessels. This condition results in severe pain, organ damage and a shortened life expectancy.
The effects of the disease can vary among individuals depending on the type of hemoglobin mutation. Some may have mild symptoms, but those who have a more severe form of the disease like Oluwaferanmi feel its impact daily.
Dealing with the pain of this disease and watching a loved one suffer has proven especially challenging for Mrs. Adekeye and she believes that problems are only resolved when solutions are sought and that is why she is on this platform to reach millions of people across the world who can come to her aid. The Adekeyes live at No 34, Adeniji Adele Road, Pako Bus Stop, Lagos Island. She can be reached on telephone number 07038633850.
For those who are moved by her story and want to donate to help Oluwaferanmi Adekeye out of her plight, her account at Zenith Bank is 2081204548.