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• Eberechukwu
'I want governments, corporate bodies and individuals to help me to travel to India for the surgery by donating to my cause and God will never forget anybody who will help in restoring my health.' These are the words little boy Assurance Nwankpa with hole in the heart who hopes to be an engineer when he grows up used to beg Nigerians to come to his rescue.

He needs N2.5 million to undergo a surgery in Miot Hospital, India.

When on May 25, 1999, Venerable Zephaniah Eberechukwu Nwankpa, a priest of the Anglican Church and his wife, Loveline Otuomasirichi, were blessed with a third child, Assurance, their joy knew no bounds.

But, that ecstasy could only last for six months when the devil's plan in the life of the little boy began to manifest.

Little Assurance was just six months old when he was struck by high fever that was so severe, but his parents believed it was one of the normal sicknesses associated with kids of his age and therefore took him to the Nigerian Christian Hospital (NCH) Nlagu, Onicha Ngwa near Aba, Abia State.

At the hospital, Assurance was examined and treated of the fever by one Dr. Nwanganga and later discharged.

It wasn't too long before the parents of Assurance knew that the treatment given to him at the NCH was temporary.

With a heart laden with sorrow, Zephaniah told Daily Sun that in 2001, two years after his son was treated of the high fever, the boy started feeling regularly weakness and the fever gradually came back.

By then they had been transferred from St. Chrysostom's Church, Ohanze Isiahia in Obingwa Local Government Area where they were pasturing to St. George's Church, Umuomainta, Mbawsi in Isiala Ngwa South Local Government Area.

According to the father, 'by this time he took pity on us and was treating him free-of-charge.'

Some of the regular and constant symptoms associated with Assurance's condition, the father said, were staggering, shivering, fainting, and falling down.

Others are excessive weakness, fast heart beats and breath. When these occur, the boy would have his finger, foot nails, lips and tongues turn to blue colour even as his eyes become reddish and he would become restless and cry constantly.

There is no gainsaying the fact that Assurance at 12 does not look his age due to his heart problem. He has stunted physical growth as he looks half of his age.

When the sickness became stubborn and refused to go, it dawned on Zephaniah and his wife that their son's ailment could not after all be an ordinary fever and from that point, they set out on a long and tortuous journey in a bid to find out exactly what has afflicted their son over the years.

And on October 13, 2004, Zephaniah took his sick son back to NCH where they met a visiting surgeon from the United States of America, Dr. R.C Whitaker who after examining the little boy referred him to Cardiac Thoracic Surgeons at UNTH, Enugu for medical tests.

But before going to UNTH, the priest and son went to ABSUTH where PCVE x-ray-PA and ECG tests were carried out on the boy by Dr. (Mrs) Nneji A.U, a consultant from Port Harcourt University Teaching Hospital. She equally referred Assurance to UNTH for Echo and PV tests.

The tests were carried out on November 12 and December 10, 2004 respectively. It was after the second test that it was discovered that Assurance has a hole in the heart.

Thus his parents were jolted by the outcome of the test just as they were the more devastated when they were informed that the surgery could not be performed here in Nigeria due to the cost implication.

A clearer picture of Assurance's ailment and what it could cost to do heart surgery on him came in July this year.

The Archbishop emeritus of the Anglican Diocese of Aba, Most Rev (Dr.) Ugochukwu Ezuoke had invited some medical experts from Miot Hospital in India led by Dr. Sivakumar to Aba.

On July 6, 2011, the medics diagnosed Assurance as having a hole in the heart, confirming the result of the previous test and referred him to Miot Hospital India for surgery which they said would cost N2.5million.

The medical experts were of the view that the boy's present age was the best for the surgery; expressing fears of possible complications if he is allowed to grow older before the surgery.

'They (medics from India) diagnosed my son as having hole in the heart and referred him to Miot Hospital in India for surgery. The cost of the surgery, flight and other contingencies are estimated to cost N2.5million,' the priest said.

Donations could be made through this First Bank Account No: 3025158626 opened in the name of Nwankpa Zephaniah Eberechukwu and Loveline Otuomasirichi who could also be reached on these GSM numbers 08037761808 and 08183401043.