By Doris Obinna
For the parents of Israel Ojo-Ajofoyinbo, life has been cruel and difficult, since he joined the family. The 13-year-old Israel, shortly after birth, came down with a strange illness that gradually made him lose mobility and left him deformed over time.
It was as if the illness was determined to consume him, as it continued to wreak havoc by affecting his limbs and slurring his speech ability.
After shuttling from one medical facility to another, upon further examination and diagnosis by a consultant spine surgeon at Primrose Specialist Hospital, Dr. Shobode Mutaleeb, adolescent idiopathic thoracic scoliosis was diagnosed.
It was said to require urgent spinal fusion surgery. The procedure is to cost N11,045,000 (eleven million, forty-five thousand naira).
Israel was a pitiable sight, as he crawled on all fours, when this reporter walked into their home. According to his mother, who is equally physically impaired, Abiodun Ojo-Ajofoyinbo, life has been hellish, as she had to stop work to take care of her son.
The 35-year-old mother of three boys said: “I was a private school teacher but had to stop work a little over two years ago when my son’s situation was getting worse. It all began when he was a little over a year old. Initially, he did not walk; we thought it was normal because some children do walk late. But when he eventually did, he was limping on his toes. Between then and when he was about four or five years old, we noticed his frame was bending to a C shape.
“We took him to Igbobi Orthopaedic and he was fixed with a cast, but it was not comfortable for the boy, so they had it removed. Since then, we have been on and off at LUTH. We underwent a series of tests, a series of MRIs. We were later told he had scoliosis.
“We kept managing him until two years ago, when he gradually stopped walking. We took him back. It was then that he was said to be diagnosed yet again of neuromuscular thoracolumbar scoliosis. He could only sit and usually to his right. He cannot sit upright.
“He stopped walking and instead crawls, in desperation to want to move. He cannot stand nor use the toilet by himself. We support him virtually in all he does. The only thing he does himself is eat from the plate.”
Ojo-Ajofoyinbo pleaded with the Lagos State governor and well-meaning Nigerians willing to contribute to her son’s treatment to forward their contributions to account number: 0050699086, Guaranty Trust Bank, account name: Abiodun Abiola Ojo-Ajofoyinbo.