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People living with sickle cell relive experiences as group visits

By Obinna Nwaoku, Port Harcourt
15 July 2022   |   3:23 am
A non-governmental organisation, Nirvana Initiative, in partnership with Hacey Health Initiative, has donated food items to people living with sickle cell anaemia in Rivers State.

Sickle Cell

A non-governmental organisation, Nirvana Initiative, with partnership from Access Bank, has donated food items to people living with sickle cell anaemia in Rivers State.

The group also used opportunity to sensitise sickle cell disease sufferers and caregivers to best ways of managing the crisis.

Speaking, yesterday, at the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital (UPTH), Dabata Omubo-Pepple, who is a representative of Nirvana, explained the NGO presented the food items in commemoration of the world Sickle Cell Day, celebrated in June.

One of the recipients, Somto Omekukwu, a 22 years old lady and a graduate of Plant Science and Biotechnology, said being a ickler had stopped her from things she passionately desired to do.

“I have been relatively stable most of my life but it has its challenges. Sometimes one plans something and you wake up not able to do it that day. You learn to manage the challenges and move on with your life.

“I like sports but most times, I’m not able to do as much as I was would love to. My parent realised I was a sickler when I was about a year old and my mum was already pregnant with my little sister, who also had sickle cell. My immediate younger sister died about five years. We were three but one had died,” she said.

Also relating his experience, Rukvwe Aride, a 27 years old male graduate of Biochemistry and Chemistry Technology, recalled how he felt the first time he knew about his status.

Aride, who is a member of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) in Rivers State, said: “I felt not really good when I knew about my status because I was wondering why me. We are three in my family: my elder brother is AS, my younger brother AA and I’m SS.

“But as time went on, I begin to live with it and felt this is my fate, so I had to work on myself. The crisis was higher when I was much younger because of academic stress but I learned to control myself, taking a lot of water, and vegetables and basically taking my drugs,” Aride added.