By DENNIS MERNYI
The family of Caleb and Belynda Olawuyi of No. 3, Makinde Street, Oregun in Ibadan, Oyo State, had the place of the joy that accompanies the gift of a child overtaken by sorrow and anguish when their new baby arrived three years ago. They were deprived the excitement because in these three years, they have nursed baby Okikijesu, peace eluded them.
She was born on May 13, 2010 with a serious medical condition, called congenital deficiency. In other words, she was delivered without most of her skull except a large tumour that covered her entire forehead. But with their case, a record in charity work has been set as an NGO, Global Initiative for Peace Love and Care (GIPLC), pulled a surprise to pick the bill.
With the whole sum of over N37 million required for the treatment picked by GIPLC, the body has set a record for picking the highest bill on behalf an individual in the history of charity work in Nigeria. You can dub it one of the most expensive shows of love in this generation. The parents of the baby said, right from the hospital where Okikijesu was born, nurses on duty that delivered her got terrified on sighting the baby.
They lamented that since the baby came with the challenging tumour, they had suffered stigmatisation, particularly from their neighbors and the landlord, who ejected them from the apartment because they have ‘an evil child’ that would bring curse and misfortune to his compound. Before an intervention came their way, the Olawuyis were to cough out $234,000 or N37.4 million to get medical treatment for their daughter at the John Hopkins Medical International Baltimore, Maryland in the United States after several hospitals around the world rejected her case.
Empathising with the condition of the baby and the frustrated situation of the parents, the concerned Abuja-based NGO showed that it really cares for the less privileged mostly children, orphans, the indigent as well as the critically challenged in the society. GIPLC has garnered financial support and other requirements for Okikijesu at the John Hopkins Hospital. Nuhu Kwajafa, Coordinator of GIPLC, said the organisation has raised N37,440,000 through its network base of supporters for Okikijesu’s treatment abroad.
He said his group had also secured accommodation for the family and the baby in Abuja, pending when their visa and flight tickets would be ready. “This is the largest singular amount ever raised for an individual by any NGO in Nigeria,” Kwajafa noted. He said: “Since our involvement in her case in July 2012, many hospitals around the world have rejected her case except the John Hopkins.
We have been able to raise $234,000 (N37.44 million) through our network base of supporters in less than 72 hours for her treatment,” he disclosed. According to Kwajafa, the organisation hopes to raise the remaining sum to secure American visa and air ticket for the parents and the baby to travel for the treatment. From the arrangements, the NGO was to have handed over the cheque and other requirements to the family yesterday.