Okey Sampson, Umuahia
When, in 2003, Mrs. Christiana Ibe, from Ezinihitte Mbaise, Imo State, gave birth to a bouncing baby boy that would be christened Chisom, her joy knew no bounds.
But that joy was short-lived. At his young age, the boy was struck by what was initially regarded as a strange disease, which was later diagnosed as cancer of the mouth.
When the reporter met with the family recently, the boy could not speak as a result of severe pains and devastation of the mouth by cancer. According to Chisom’s father, Linus Ibe, a peasant farmer from Ezinihitte Mbaise, who spoke on behalf of his son, the boy was doing well health-wise until about six years ago when he developed what looked like a pimple on the side of his mouth.
Ibe said, initially, his son was given medical treatment for the pimple, but, instead of healing, the pimple kept expanding to the point that it went beyond the proportion of what they could handle. Chisom, according to the father, was taken to the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital (UNTH), Enugu, where he was diagnosed with cancer of the mouth.
“We started treating the pimple, but the more we treated it, the more it kept expanding to the point that my son could hardly talk. It was then that we took him to UNTH, Enugu, where doctors told us he was suffering from cancer of the mouth and they said the only way it could be cured was through surgical operation,” Linus said.
Chisom, the third in a family of eight children and who is battling for survival, stopped going to school six years ago as a result of the ailment. His father said the family would require at least N4 million to have the surgical procedure done.
Chisom’s parents are peasant farmers in Mbaise and are by no means in any position to foot the bill. They are appealing to the Imo State government and other people of goodwill from within and outside Imo State to come to their son’s aid: “We are peasant farmers; we do not have money to buy food for the family not to talk of N4 million for the surgery. We are appealing to the state government and people from everywhere to come and help us. We need help urgently so that our son might live.”
Donations should go to Agu Lillian; account number: 2086316031, bank: UBA Plc, with phone number 08103600894.