Mrs Ebele Odofin, is a newspaper vendor in Awka, the Anambra State capital with over 20years of experience. Her son, Prince Ayo Daniel Odofin has been bedridden for barely three years following an ailment earlier suspected to be partial stroke.
A mother of three from Akwa village Ifitedunu in Dunukofia Local Government Area of the state but married from Ogun state, Odofin has suffered untold hardship taking care of the 10-year old son.
Odofin who said she had committed thousands of naira towards finding lasting solution to the protracted illness, said she needed the sum of N750,000 for a special surgery for her son to bounce back to life.
Her words, “It all started in January, 2018. We thought it was a minor thing because it started as if he had a partial stroke after he woke up one morning.
“But what baffled us was that getting to the night of that day, he could not urinate nor defecate. The next thing we did was to rush him to the hospital thinking it was an infection.
“When we got there, they conducted all manner of tests and told us that nothing was wrong with him. Though they referred us to another hospital, but we had to bring him back to the east because the case started in Lagos, thinking it would be better.
“When we came to Anambra, we took him to a bone stretcher who told us he had a disjoint at the waste, but not knowing that was not the problem. The moment the woman touched him, he stopped working till date.
“From there, we took him to General hospital, Awka, where they carried out their own test. But that’s after they referred us for an x-ray which we did.
“They later told us to go and carry out city scan, saying it was not what they could handle. We were referred to another hospital where the city scan was run which indicated that he had a blockage at the spine.
“We were again referred to a neurological hospital in Enugu. We later went for Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) test which read that he had a tummor behind the chest, which they said was what surgery can handle at the cost of N5m.
“Since I don’t have that kind of money, I had to bring my son back home. Since then, we’ve been carrying him from one place to another, thinking there will be solution, but all to no avail.”
Mrs Odofin however said a ray of hope beemed on her the day she ran into a woman whose daughter with similar experience directed her on where to go for solution.
“Just last September, I came across a woman whose daughter had a similar issue, and she referred us to the doctor that treated her own daughter.
“When we got there, the doctor asked us to go for a digital x-ray so he could ascertain if it was what he could handle. He discarded the former x-ray we gave to him. According to him, it was already stale, having taken a while it was run. So I took the boy to another hospital, a diagnostic center here in Awka.
“At the hospital, the diagnosis indicated that he had a blockage at the spine behind the chest. The spinal cord, which is supposed to be straight, somehow curved. The test also shown he had some issues at the lumber and had to undergo some physiotherapy exercise.
“He promised to handle it, but gave us a bill of N750,000, including the drugs and other materials. He also demanded a deposit of 75percent of the bill before he could commence treatment,” she lamented.
Asked how she had been taking care of the son since the past three years, the visibly devastated woman described the experience as excruciating.
Her words, “My son was just 7 when the issue started, but now he’s 10, and has added much weight. It’s not been easy carrying him all alone. Lifting him from one place to another is another challenge.
“It’s a different issue when he wants to go to toilet. The whole thing is seriously telling on my body and has affected my health badly. I’m already developing waste pain but God has been there.
“Financially, it has not been easy. As a newspaper vendor, especially this period papers don’t sell, it’s been hell for me. The little we have had been spent on drugs and other items in order to keep the boy alive.
“Academically, he has not been to school since then which is another big challenge. Most times, he cries, especially when he sees some of his mates going to school. He keep asking me why is his case different.
“Even though I sometime join him in crying, but I keep encouraging him that tommorow will be better. I tell him that he has a bright future and that God will definitely arise in his favor.”
On whether she had made any move to request for assistance from the government or other spirited Nigerians, Odofin answered on the affirmative, but said such steps had yielded little or nothing.
“I’ve made several efforts. I’ve written letters to the governor, Chief Willie Obiano and his wife, Osodieme. They had invited us and the wife through her NGO gave us a wheelchair and N2,000 transport.
“I’ve also written letters to Sen. Ifeanyi Ubah, Chairman of Authority Newspapers. I gave the letter to someone very close to him. I equally sent a message to his personal line. But he is yet to respond to any of them. I’ve also written to some others.
“I beg Nigerians to come to my aid because this is not what I can handle any longer. It has really eaten me up. This is a boy of 10years that still has a long way to go.
“My husband stays in Lagos, but has nothing serious doing. He lost his job in the course of running around for this same ailment. Since then, he’s been searching for another job to earn a living. But none has come.
“Sometimes when I call to request for money, he’ll cry. But you know crying does not solve problem, including the one at hand.
“If I tell you that I’ve not given up, I’m just telling you a lie. Sometimes, I’ll sit down and keep crying. I’ll lock myself up because this has really tied me down. I can no longer move out, and do the business that can fetch money for the family because you can’t leave only him and his siblings alone at home. I’m a mother of three kids, taking care of them plus the situation at hand has really been devastating.
“It’s so bad that friends and family members have deserted me, they no longer ask after me, unlike before, you see them coming around to ask. Nobody cares, no calls, except my younger brother who used to come and assist me. Being a pastor, most times he makes out time from his tight schedule to come around,” she sobbed.
The woman however hinted that prayers had severally been offered on behalf of the son, which acccording to her had contributed largely to his being alive.
“So many men and women of God have prayed for him. I’ll comfortably tell you that Umah Ukpai has prayed for him. Pastor Godspower has equally prayed for him, one on one.
“Another person that has prayed for him is Mummy Iredu of the Sisters Fellowship. I took him to the highest alter of settlement where he was prayed for. T. B. Joshua has equally prayed for him.
“Even though he’s yet to walk with his feet, but I’m sure that the prayers are working. What has been keeping him alive till today is all of these prayers said on his behalf. I also believe that the churches, particularly the Redeemed Christian Church where I belong have not stopped praying for him,” she added.