Not long after I was interviewed and published by a publication, the Sickle Cell News Journal (sicklecellnews.com), the publisher of the magazine got in touch again to inform me somebody else would also love to have a word with me and if he was free to share my contact info. I obliged.
And, that was how I got to know one of the most loving and gracious SCD Warrior I have ever known. After my correspondences with this wonderful person, which was to get to know about my life with SCD and our NGO, the story was again published on the Punch, which I had shared on this platform in the past. This person, a woman and older than myself, has come to be like a sister since that time, which is over a year now.
She’s no other person than Ms. TOLA DEHINDE, the Punch Newspaper Columnist whose articles on Sickle Cell have constantly featured on the page of our NGO, Disability & Sickle Cell Organization of Nigeria (DISCON). Her writings and column are dedicated to the Sickle Cell cause to create awareness, enlightenment and to share Warriors’ stories so as to give hope to the teeming population of SCD warriors.
She’s one of the warriors I hold in high esteem and whom has come to be like a collaborator on Sickle Cell matters. Through her preemption in May this year, DISCON participated in a Sickle Cell Awareness project packaged by TunMicro Sickle Cell Foundation, UK, for Makoko residents to give support. See link below…
Almost overwhelmed with projects to touch lives such as paying hospital bills and giving monthly financial supports to warriors, dedication to the Punch newspaper column, writing for her own blog, serving in a capacity to the UK based Sickle Cell NGO, her career job, diet write-ups, etc, one would hardly know she has her own health challenges she battles with as a warrior.
From a personal experience, I have come to the realisation that being strong always can have its own downturn. It leaves you with no choice than to always stay strong because people forget that you need help too. Your strength is often mistaken for toughness, when Sickle Cell actually knows no toughness. You’re left with no alternative than to keep standing up for yourself and relegating your health challenges to the back burner while placing others first. Until I met Ms. Tola Dehinde, it dawned on me I wasn’t the only strong warrior caught in the web. I was stunned to learn that amidst all she does for the Sickle Cell community, she personally battles with AVN (Avascular Necrosis) and had even undergone surgeries. I was taken aback and close to tears on the discovery.
Anytime she notices a lull in my online activities, she reaches out to check on me. Truth is, 2019 has been my most challenging year with recurring sickle cell health battles. In it all, she is one of the few persons who got in touch constantly. At a point, she asked to know the drug I use for my pain crisis and decided to send me Morphine and another drug all the way from the UK to Nigeria. I was humbled at the gesture. Her deep seated level of compassion do not only surprise me but is also a morale booster to even want to do more for humanity. What is the essence of life?
Time would not permit me to share all about this great woman who’s an epitome of love, decency and a life of service to others in the Sickle Cell struggle. Kindly join me in celebrating her and the good works she does for humanity too.
On behalf of Disability & Sickle Cell Organization of Nigeria (DISCON), we appreciate and applaud you.
Thank you for all you do.
– Tayo Faloye