• Thu. Jul 18th, 2024

Woman Appeals To Nigerians For Help In Regaining Ability To Walk, 19 Years After Post Accident


Jul 26, 2023

In the bustling Okotun area of Lagos State, amidst the challenges of navigating through the city’s maze of buildings, there resides a woman whose spirit shines as brightly as her name suggests – Ms. Okwara Happiness Lucy. Despite facing a disability that took away her ability to walk, Happiness exudes a positive energy that captivates all who meet her.

For the media team assigned to find her, locating Happiness’s residence proved to be no easy task. However, persistence paid off, and as they knocked on her door, they were met with a warm smile that seemed to have withstood the test of time. The wheelchair-bound Happiness expertly maneuvered her chair to greet the visitors, a testament to her years of practice and determination.

Affectionately known as Happiness by her friends and family, this name aptly describes her disposition, which remains cheerful and optimistic even in the face of life’s hardships. Though her smile radiates hope, it conceals the internal struggles she has endured over the years, living in a world marked by despair and resignation.

However, on this particular day, there was a newfound glimmer of hope in her eyes. Happiness eagerly shared with the reporters that, after years of searching for a miracle, hope and divine intervention had finally found her. She revealed that the latest information about her condition indicated that a life-changing surgery, estimated to cost N8 million, could potentially grant her the ability to walk once again.

The 42-year-old woman, who sells biscuits near her residence where she lives with relatives, expressed her financial plight, stating that she did not possess the means to afford the costly surgery. The burden weighed heavily on her conscience, knowing that her family had already sold land and other belongings to support her since her accident several years ago, depleting their once-healthy coffers.

Happiness’s life took a tragic turn in 2004 while traveling to Asaba in Delta State. She was a university student with dreams of a promising future, completing her degree, and supporting her parents. However, fate dealt her a cruel blow when the 18-seater bus she boarded was involved in a horrifying accident at the Asaba Toll Gate. The crash robbed her of her ability to walk and shattered the dreams she once held so dearly.

Yet, in the face of adversity, Happiness remains steadfast in her belief that her dreams can be revived with the support of empathic and compassionate Nigerians. She knows it is not too late to recapture the life she once envisioned – a life filled with education, love, and the joy of raising a family.

As news of Happiness’s story spread, the hearts of many were touched, and the spirit of goodwill awakened within the community. A crowdfunding campaign has been initiated by concerned citizens, aiming to raise the necessary funds for her life-changing surgery. The campaign has already garnered significant attention, with individuals from all walks of life contributing what they can to help make Happiness’s dream a reality.

In a country where the strength of community support is well-known, this is another inspiring example of Nigerians coming together to uplift one of their own. For Happiness, it is a beacon of hope that shines brighter than ever before, reminding her that she is not alone in her struggle.

As the campaign gains momentum, Happiness remains grateful for the love and support she has received. With each donation, she feels closer to the possibility of walking again and embracing the future she once thought was lost forever. In her own words, “With the goodness of Nigerians, no dream is too far out of reach.”

For those who wish to contribute to Happiness’s cause and be part of her journey toward a brighter future, the crowdfunding campaign is accessible on various platforms and has been aptly named “Walking with Happiness.” Together, let us prove that even amidst life’s darkest moments, the light of hope can prevail, and dreams can be reignited with the power of community and compassion.

She recounted: “ I was later told that I was retrieved from a pit, having been flung out of the bus. Police and rescue teams rushed us to St Joseph in Asaba, from there to other hospitals in Onitsha. When my family came down to Asaba, I was taken to another hospital, and from there they referred us to an orthopedic hospital in Enugu.”

As she battled for survival, her mind wandered to the fellow passengers who hadn’t been as fortunate. The memory of their loss served as a poignant reminder for her.

Following several months of treatment at the orthopedic hospital in Enugu, she was finally discharged. However, upon her return to Imo State, she struggled to hold back tears as she recalled her journey. Happiness recounted how she had secured admission to study Banking and Finance at the prestigious Alvan Ikoku Federal College of Education, but the accident had tragically robbed her of that opportunity to continue her education.

“I was moved from one hospital to another until 2007. I went back to St. Rita’s Hospital in Imo State, and I was there for close to four years before I was discharged.

“I started staying at the village and then I was moved down to Lagos State and since then, I have been staying with my elder sister before she got married.
“I had earlier lived with my younger brother. I attend a church at Egbeda, where the church members assisted in taking me to an orthopedic hospital in Lagos.

“Before I went to the Lagos orthopedic hospital, I had gone to other hospitals, subjected to many X-rays. But as usual, they couldn’t find anything. One of the doctors said that since I had done several x-rays I should go for an MRI scan.”

She narrated: “They discovered something, but I don’t know what the doctor called it. But one of the doctors at the orthopedic hospital explained that it was something surgery would be able to correct. He said that a small piece of bone shifted from my spinal cord. He gave me a letter to Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), saying that it was not a surgery they could do.

“I went to LUTH, but it was difficult to see a doctor; in fact, I didn’t get to see any doctor to attend to me and that was in 2018 and then we stopped going because of transportation fare. I traveled for my cousin’s wedding and there I met another of my cousin, a nurse, who now works with a big hospital.

“She told me that at the hospital she works, the doctors had treated and operated on people with worst conditions and that they got well.

“She said that the hospital specialised in the treatment of issues relating to spinal cords and the brain. This was in Port Harcourt, Rivers State. I told her to forget about the issue because I had lost interest and hope in walking again and I was tired of X-rays.

“I told her that I had gone for several X-rays and an MRI scan, and she said she would call my sister in Lagos to send over the last scan result. When she got to her workplace, she told her doctor about me, who asked that I should come over so he could examine me.

“He also said I should come with the last MRI result. So I went with the result, he looked at it and announced that it was something that surgery could correct. I was ecstatic.”

Happiness felt an overwhelming joy that seemed boundless when she received a ray of hope. If she were capable of dancing, she would have waltzed with delight, for she finally came to the realization that there was a slight possibility she could regain her ability to walk once more.

She said: “I was very excited that after so many years there was hope that I could stand, I could use my legs again. The doctor assured me that it was possible. He showed me pictures of people that the hospital had operated on.

“The doctor said they must admit me before they could start the surgery. My cousin called her dad and he came to the hospital, they negotiated the price and everything for the surgery ended up being N8 million excluding the hospital fee. He assured me that I would stand on my feet again.”

Happiness said it was because of this firm belief and faith in the surgery that made her decide to go public to solicit funds, even though she stated that it was a tough decision.

According to her, sometimes desperation, needs, and desire outweigh shame and pride.

“I’m going public because I want to walk again, I want to feel my feet again,” she cried.

Asked about her family’s financial situation in the face of the need for this surgery, she responded: “My family can’t afford it because I’m from a very poor family. Even when this accident happened, my father had to sell his lands. Right now, there’s nothing left anymore to sell, which is the reason I’m seeking help from members of the public.

“Since I got the news that I may be able to walk again, I have started sleeping better. I have also stopped questioning God on why I was bound to a wheelchair, asking if my sins were more than the average human being on earth.

“Yes, I had to question God because I have done many X-rays, and each time doctors will say I was okay, and will even place me on exercises to straighten my legs, but no matter what, there were no changes.

“The doctors used to be surprised that there were no changes. So I’m very happy and grateful to God for this opportunity he has given me. I also know that he is the only one that can touch the hearts of people to understand my situation and assist me.”

Happiness expressed how the accident significantly impacted her life, particularly her education, stating, “The accident became a barrier to pursuing my dreams. My family couldn’t afford both the medical treatment to save my life and the expenses for my education. We’ve faced numerous hardships over the years.”

“Everywhere I go, someone must push me, take me, and then look after me. I became a burden to them, and I didn’t want or like that. There was a time my sister would wake up and start crying, saying that if not for the accident, she would have gotten married.

“My condition deprived me, not just of education, but love, marriage, and children. I don’t think I will be able to find love in my condition. There was a time I used to tell myself that someone will come around, will see, and understand me for the unique woman I am, and would love me just for me, but it never happened.

“I met many guys on Facebook and we would get talking and begin to like each other. But immediately I tell them that I am physically challenged and bound to a wheelchair, and they disappear. I used to feel so devastated. I’m pleading with Nigerians to assist me to grab this chance to walk again.”

If you want to reach out to Happiness,
Phone number: 08038914185
Bank Account: Okwara Lucy Happiness
Account Number: First Bank, 3040600980

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