The odds were against her. Mayowa,now 4, had a defective breathing system. Her parents were particularly well-to-do yet their daughter's health was deteriorating by the day. She was getting pale and losing strength to walk, so, it was a matter of time before she gave up.
But like the biblical woman with the issue of blood who met Jesus Christ and her reproach was taken off her, both parents, Gbenga and Oluwatoyin Abolaji, met two different people at different times and their reproach was taken off.
Mary works as secretary in an events centre while the husband, Michael, works with Rainoil as depot manager. Rotary Club of Egbeda had a function at the events centre, Mary's workplace, she approached one of the members who tabled her case before his members: That assistance including using the media generated over N200,000.
The husband also informed his company and, having thoroughly found the veracity of the claim, independently, the chairman approved about N1.6m for the medical treatment. The operation was successful as she just returned with her baby last month from India. She was full of gratitude when Sunday Vanguard sought her out in her office.
"It was the battle of my life as I was ready to give everything for my daughter to survive", she said as she narrated how the problem started." She was barely two years old when we noticed that she was always having temperature. We thought it was just malaria and so we were giving her malaria treatment and she would be okay.
But, on this particular night, the temperature was so high that we had to, out of fear, take her to the Alimosho General Hospital where she was rejected. The officials asked us to take her to Ikeja General Hospital. By this time, it was already midnight. On getting there, we were admitted. We were told that she had a hole in the heart and still further referred us to Lagos University Teaching Hospital, LUTH".
There and then, the mother was told what she had to do if she wanted her child to live - Look for N1.6m. This was a woman whose annual salary was a lot less than that amount. The baby was discharged but not without drugs to suppress the pains but more than that to prolong her days before going under the knife, that is if the parents could afford the cost of operation.
"We were going to LUTH every week to take injections and drugs. There were days I would not go because there was no money for the drugs and transportation. We had this Rotary of Egbeda function at our events centre. Knowing that the organisation is about charity, I thought I should approach them, whatever they could do would go a long way. I approached one of the members who then took it up.
That was how I ended up in Vanguard and a story about my baby's plight was published", she recalled. By this time, Mayowa's crisis had separated both parents. However in the midst of this crisis, the little girl became the strength of her mother as she was constantly telling her mother,'don't worry mummy, I shall not die'. She had sought assistance from some corporate organisations.
It was only Kanu Heart Foundation, that responded positively. Even then she was told they could only give 15% of the total cost while she looked for the balance." And to add to that, it is you that would go about distributing the letter to solicit for assistance.
I didn't know anybody who could help out, and that was the reason I even went to the Foundation in the first place.
If I knew who could help, I would not have even come to them. Meanwhile the Vanguard publication elicited reactions such that those who could not help financially were raining prayers on Mayowa. Over N200,000 was realised from the response to the publication.
The publication was also reacted to by Ajibola's company, Rainoil, but negatively. The anger of the company was the fact that it was not told before taking it to the public. The company promptly dug into the case and their findings were not differently from what the Vanguard published.
It promptly released the money for the operation. The company chief accountant also gave N100k as personal donation. " Our joy knew no bounds when we discovered that we had gotten the money for the operation. I was just crying because I didn't believe we could get that kind of money.
I had never seen millions in my life, I was only hearing or reading about it. Where would you get such kind of money?, that was why I was crying when eventually we got the money". Unlike other children who had come for the same operation,Mayowa recovery was the fastest."
I met about four Nigerians in the hospital who had come for the same operation. There were other patients from other countries too. But, of all the patients, it was Mayowa's recovery that was the fastest. Usually, according to parents of the patients and even doctors and nurses there, it takes about three days before you can begin to move around but Mayowa was every where in less than 24 hours. Everyone was amazed," she stated.
"There is really nothing I can say to capture my emotions and most importantly my gratitude to Rainoil and the public for this assistance. Words cannot really express how I feel that I am not made to lose my child. All I can say is that God will continue to bless everyone". Mayowa, meaning bring forth joy, has not only restored her parents joy but has reunited them with the successful operation.