‘I have not been tempted to be suicidal. I have only been tempted to give up’
– Adenike Oyetunde , Founder Amputees United Initiative
At the age of 20, Adenike had one of her limbs amputated as a result of cancer , but the survivor continues to live her life like it’s golden,inspiring people daily through her story and touching lives, . The founder of “Amputees United Intiative” plans to provide support to amputees and create awareness through her organisation. Adenike shares her inspiring story with us and also reveals how she survived the dark phase in her life and her plans for her organisation.
February 4 2006, started me on the life changing journey I have embarked on, these few years. It’s been a roller coaster ride, with its ups and downs. A journey very less traveled, and so, the outcomes are highly uncertain, as with similar trips. A journey where the destination remains unclear, can only be traveled with God. It’s has made me get close to him, been lukewarm, getting back to knowing him; and realizing undoubtedly, the only thing else that makes sense, would be to be on His team. It’s crazy, especially in a society like ours. We don’t even know how many persons living with disabilities we have, and I suggest wonder why some folks are surprised we can’t care for them. We don’t even know the forms of disabilities, how do we care for them? I didn’t have anything handed down to me, so far on this journey. I have had to kneel before God especially for the biggest things men once thought were obviously impossible to get. I have had to wonder if it may have been a little different, only if I didn’t have to lose the use of my right natural limb.
People somehow just expect you to be high and fly, almost at every point in time; and when you’re not, they know it’s most definitely because one has a special need. It’s been a crazy journey, but an evidently worthwhile one.
Losing her limbs
Nothing ever prepares you for a life of limb loss. I was hardly ever prepared, or so it seemed. In hindsight sometimes, I think I was prepared, but had no idea, it was a training process. I can be so annoying. I hang up the phone so easily, and I have been working on that. I am a trustworthy person, if I do say so myself. Can be very loquacious, but I definitely, know the limits.
My driving force
The reasons I am alive drives me. My visions, purpose of course are embedded in these reasons and it’s systematic and progressive unveiling will only happen through God
State of mind when I was told my leg would be amputated
Amazingly, I wasn’t destabilized this was because from the date of my diagnosis, till the eventual amputation, I knew time was running out, and I had no choice, save to amputate my limb. I was way mentally prepared for the procedure, but of course, not the new realities I was to face. I needed to jump start’ my life, and I knew the amputation was the first step. I needed to go face it.
Passion for broadcasting
Truthfully, I looked for a job as a lawyer, but wasn’t successful, because I hadn’t been pushy about it.Then came the season to re-discover myself, and broadcasting was where my passion also lied. Of course, my dad’s influence wouldn’t be undermined, as I remember growing up around news studios, and on the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria ground. My dad retired from the FRCN, as a manager News and Current Affairs.
Greatest influence on my life
Sometimes when I mention Jesus as my greatest life influence it just gets me emotional. Another person who has continued to impact me is a dear friend, Udy. Udy Ntia is my pastor, mentor and most importantly friend. He has been able to help me to rediscover who I am and my journey of purpose.
Tempted to quit
I have not been tempted to be suicidal .I have only been tempted to give up. A number of times, I get so frustrated at the turn out of events in life, and I begin to ask myself if the story may have changed, only if I had both natural limbs. I hardly ever stay in this sort of mood for so long, so I get back and keep moving.
My greatest reward has been the joy that fills my heart when people unbeknownst to me, have gotten inspired by my story and become more appreciative of their own situation.
Compassion and empathy are not the same
Nigerians are compassionate towards amputees. Unfortunately, compassion and empathy are two very distinct, yet closely related terms. It’s fine to show compassion, but there’s a very thin line, and that’s where I usually have an issue. We are amputates, we understand you simply are concerned about our wellbeing, but we need you to let us ‘fall and stand again. One would have thought the compassion would have translated to so much, as better care for we amputees, or persons living with disabilities, but that’s not the case. Those in the position to effect the changes we need, to live a better quality of life, do not do so.
Inspiration behind Amputees United
It was born out of my passion for fellow Amputees, I look back at my journey in 11years and sincerely I wouldn’t want them to go on this mental journey alone. I will love to help them wage through the storm, because honestly, I went through this, that I may help them on their journey.
Message to other Amputees
We at the AMPUTEES UNITED INITIATIVE would love that you allow us hold hands together. Let’s hold hands till you come to terms with your new reality. Let’s hold hands, so you don’t have to suffer depression. Let’s hold hands to inspire one another. Let’s hold hands, so they know we can, despite our journeys.
Advice to women living with disabilities
Get up, yes you can. Please get up, move on. You can, and will do it. Your hair will grow again, your love life will re-ignite, your finance will stabilize, and your health will be restored.
The notion of the Nigerian woman we once had, has evolved. She has grown in leaps and bounds. She has learnt to handle her home, career and God, very well.So, everyone must discover, and as quickly as she can, who she is, what she stands for, what she’s here for, and get to work.