Word from the Founder
So many of us don’t fit the profile of someone typical at risk of brain diseases or any serious neurological problems. It was such a shock when Victoria my immediate younger sister who seemed to be the healthiest person in our family prior to that fateful day, at midnight, was suddenly woken up by what she described as the worst headache of her life. In a blink of an eye, she was struck down by stroke right before me and was rushed to a nearby hospital. Few hours later, she slipped into coma. And that was on the 27th of April 2012, a day that would change our lives forever!
I wasn’t sure what had gone wrong with my sister that very night since there was no prior sign of ill health before we went to bed. But whatever it was landed her on life support immediately we got to the hospital, and she wasn’t expected to make it.
The time stood still, the next morning seemed like eternity and it wasn’t until she had a brain Ct-Scan that it revealed Victoria’s blood vessel in her brain had busted, leaving her unresponsive, almost brain dead, with no or little chance of recovery. The ruptured blood vessel was due to what the Doctors diagnosed as Brain Arterio Venous Malformation (AVM). AVM, I later came to understand is a tangled mesh of abnormal blood vessels directly connecting arteries to veins in the brain which is congenital.
To describe the journey that started that very night, is to describe a journey through hell. One thing was certain – we survived! We could only see the DIVINE HAND OF GOD through it all. Victoria has had five brain surgeries till date and one more to go (Cranioplasty).
As we all know, life sometimes takes us down a path we didn’t plan. And just when you think you know where you’re headed, that’s usually when it throws you the pitch you weren’t prepared for. And that was my story, a graduate of Metallurgical & Materials Engineering from Nnamdi Azikiwe University, excelling in my profession at the time. My curve ball came that night, in 2012, just few weeks after my Dad’s one year memorial service.
I wanted to know all I could of the enemy that almost destroyed our lives, so I researched every medical journal I could lay my hands on. I was astonished by the lack of awareness of these neurological disorders in this side of the globe. Innocent men, women and children fall victim to these fatal diseases. It was then that I knew I had to do something to bring awareness to this devastating condition and help the patients and families who are struggling just as we did.
This is the beginning of the greatest venture of my life. We know that in life there are no guarantees, but what we do have is the power to make the life we have one of significance. I believe beyond every reasonable doubt that God sustained me and kept me alive for this purpose. The burden to help other people and not see them suffer what we suffered drives me. The financial, physical and emotional burden and trauma that comes with neurosurgical interventions of these disorders can be mind boggling. We had spent over a $100,000.00 to save Victoria’s life in an environment where there is lack of serious medical insurance and interventions.
By offering everything from words of wisdom and encouragement to a shoulder to cry on, creating awareness, helping to source funding for treatment and much more, I have thrown back the curve ball and am committed to changing the course of these disorders in Africa. I have chosen to take the challenges I’ve been given, turn them into something positive and allow that strength to carry me through. And that is how we all should live – forever creating a legacy we want others to remember us by.
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