Three-year-old Wilfred Chisimdiri Ugoh has been in agony since his first day on earth. The boy suffers from a congenital heart disease.
To correct this and forestall irreversible and life-threatening complications, he needs N10 million for an open heart surgery in an Indian hospital.
A sight of him immediately tells you that all is not well. He looks pale; sometimes his skin turns blue. You might see him steady a minute and the next moment he is gasping for breath.
At three, he still exhibits the features of a baby that is under a year. He can neither crawl nor stand. He cannot communicate and takes no food besides pap.
Wilfred’s troubles started when his mother, Bethel Ugoh, then a student of Ebonyi State University, started experiencing some bleeding from her first trimester. The condition kept her in and out of hospital until it resulted in a premature birth.
At five months, the little baby began to show some irregular traits, and regular visits to the hospital began. It was only in his ninth month that a cardiologist at Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Abakaliki, discovered that he had a hole in the heart. And, ever since, life has not been the same for the family.
In 2016, a few weeks after Bethel joined her husband in Lagos, the baby started vomiting and his colour turned blue. He was rushed to the nearest clinic, from where he was referred to the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH). From there, the boy was referred to LUTH.
“After all the tests, they frankly said they could not handle it here in Nigeria. They said we should look for money and take him abroad,” the mother said.
On January 19, 2017, a fund-raising appeal letter was issued to the family by Dr. O.J. Sokunbi of LUTH. But even that has not helped the family raise funds to address the boy’s ailment.
Before all these started, Mr. Ugoh had three shops where he sold foodstuff. But today, his business has collapsed. The baby’s mother, a graduate of accountancy education, could not secure a job due to the severity of his illness. The family has also been abandoned by family and friends, it was gathered. Getting money to buy food and medication has become a difficult task. The boy’s drugs cost N3,500 every day.
An Italy-based organisation, the Salam Centre for Cardiac Surgery, was recently in the country to do free surgical operation for cardiac patients, especially children. But the family was told, after some tests, that the boy’s case was not in its surgical criteria.
“My child is just living by God’s grace,” said Bethel. “He has gone many times, but God revived him. The pain is severe, and he does not sleep even at night. Neither do we. As a mother, I feel like taking his pains but that’s not possible.
“We are appealing to the government, corporate bodies and all good people of Nigeria to show mercy on us and this little boy. We have spent everything we have. We don’t have landed properties or any other thing to sell. Please help us to save our son’s life.”
The parents of the boy may be reached on 08032293777 and 08085853139. Donations may be sent to the Diamond Bank account name Chisimdirindu Wilfred Ugoh. The account number is 0088720161.