HELP! MY CHILD NEEDS N3.5M TO SURVIVE
Two years ago she sauntered into The Sun's newsroom in Abuja with a baby in her hands. Her plea was earnest and direct. It was meant for Nigerians: 'Please don't let my child die. 'Today, the distressed widow is still making the same plea with more passion.
Mrs. Anthonia Joshua is appealing to Nigerians to come to her aid in respect of her daughter, Favour, who had been diagnosed with a congenital life-threatening health condition. Favour was born with a hole in the heart and needs at least N3.5 million to undergo operations. She has been referred to hospitals in Ghana, South Africa or India for that purpose.
In 2004 when little Favour was diagnosed with the problem at birth, she needed just N500,000 then for surgical operations to correct the defects. But having lost her husband the previous year and with no help coming from anywhere, the mother was unable to raise the money. Ever since, she has had to live with the pains of seeing Favour go through many life-threatening crisies.
According to Joshua, when she appealed to Nigerians to come to her aid last time, her effort yielded slightly over N600,000, mostly donations by her town union members in Abuja and some few friends and relatives. But all that has been expended in going for various tests, scanning, buying drugs and shuttling between Abuja and the UNTH, Enugu where she was referred to by Kings Care Hospital, Abuja
Joshua explained that Favour, now six, appeared to have improved, but doctors told her to get the required money and take the child abroad for surgical operations before it was too late, telling her that it was the grace of God and drugs that had kept the girl alive. Doctors insisted the mother must act fast to save her from death or disability in the near future .
The mother of two explained that Favour, now a primary one pupil of St Michael's Nursery and Primary School, Piwoi, on the Airport Road, Abuja, is doing well and identified as one of the brightest in her class. However, she said her little girl has a speech problem as she could hardly talk well and when she does, is incoherent.
'I spend an average of N2,500 on buying drugs recommended for Favour weekly. For a poor staff like me whose monthly take-home is nothing to talk about, you know what that means. I have had to sell my clothes and property to be able to maintain my children, Miracle (8) and Favour (6) as well as pay house rent after El-Rufai demolished the small bungalow my late husband built for us at Piwoi. It is not easy struggling to survive and battling to keep Favour alive.
'Now, I am not calling on Nigerians to donate money to save my daughter, I am begging Godly spirited Nigerians to come to my aid by making it possible that the little girl is flown to India for the recommended surgical operations. The doctors told me that it might cost about N3.5million to treat her in India and may be something less for an operation in South Africa or Ghana. I don't have that kind of money but I believe that there are Nigerians who could do this for me.
'Having lost my husband, I don't want to lose Favour because she and Miracle are my life and should anything happen to her, I doubt if I would be able to live again. I thank God that the frequency of the crises Favour usually had in the past has reduced greatly, but each time it comes it is as if she would give up any time but with prayers and faith in God, she has survived such attacks.
'For how long would she continue to suffer such attacks? When I am at work, I can hardly stop thinking of her condition in school. I pray every minute that nothing untoward happens to her. She looks very fragile and seems to have impaired speech as one could hardly hear her or understand what she is saying. The doctors said it was the effect of the hole in the heart and that all that will come to normalcy after the operations.
'That she is alive today is because my town people under the auspices of Asaba Development Union were able to raise over N500,000 for me. With money not coming from anywhere else to meet the N3.5milion needed to take her to India, I had to use the money to treat her from 2008 till now . What I want Nigerians to help me do now is to come and take the child for surgery. I have made contacts with some NGOs and have been to Kanu Heart Foundations but without any meaningful progress. My husband's people from Isikwuato in Abia State have not been of any help in my plight. I am only praying that God will touch their hearts one day to take care of their child.
'The situation is such that I have committed it to God because I know that it is beyond me. God said in the holy book that when we knock, He would open the door for us and that when we ask, we shall get. I have knocked and I have asked and I believe I would get assistance for my little daughter to be well again.'
Asked if she would marry again, Joshua who is 33 years old said that every woman wants to be protected by man and that if the right man comes her way she would marry again. She was quick to add 'But who would want to marry a widow with a hole-in-the -heart child? Men these days don't want added responsibility.'