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Tuesday, 25 March 2014

heart-of-gold                               Kindness begets kindness, so the saying goes. That aptly captures what the 11-year-old Queen Ejoor from Igbuzo in Oshimili North Local Government Area of Delta State has just done.
She has just donated a total sum of N100, 000 to assist an unknown boy in Taraba State, a two-year-old Imran, who needs N2.5million to undergo corrective heart surgery.
Born on July 10, 2002, Queen was diagnosed with a hole in the heart when she was just a year and few months old. Her mother, Mrs. Helen Ejoor, being a staff of the United Bank for Africa (UBA) then, was able to access the bank’s medical scheme to save her daughter’s life. “So, under the UBA medical scheme, the company helped us to undergo medical treatment in Ghana,” she said.
But, the treatment did not provide a permanent solution. The hole in baby Ejoor’s heart was found to be very large and that called for insertion into her heart, a medical equipment called pacemaker. The pacemaker would activate the heart to pump blood in the right proportion when she is sleeping and her heartbeat is dropping.
The pacemaker battery would be changed every 10 years when it is expected to have been drained of all the energies in it. They were also required to be visiting the Ghanaian hospital where the surgery was performed for check up once every year. And that, Mrs Ejoor had kept faith with until May 2013, when she visited as usual and doctors told her that the pacemaker battery was dead and needed to be replaced urgently.
“To change the battery,” Mrs Ejoor continued, “The whole expenses, including travelling to Ghana for that would cost about 4000 Euros, which when converted to naira stood at N940, 000.” But, she had no such money since she is no longer in the employ of UBA; her appointment with the bank was terminated in 2007.
Determined to save her baby, she reached out to a former colleague at UBA, Mr Ikem Okuhu, who is now the publisher of Brandish magazine, for assistance. It was Mr Okuhu, who took Queen’s picture and medical report from her mother and launched a fundraising campaign on the facebook social network to raise money for the girl’s medical expenses in Ghana.
“When I looked at what it would cost me to change the pacemaker battery, which was put at 4000 Euros, about N940, 000 and I am no longer working, I knew there was no way I could afford it. So, I decided to reach out to Ikem, who eventually helped me to appeal to Nigerians for financial assistance. He asked me to send my daughter’s picture and the medical report and I did. He used them and launched a campaign to save Queen on the facebook social media network and today, we have realized more than we requested from kind-hearted Nigerians.
“So, just one week after Ikem launched the campaign on facebook, which I didn’t even know, I started receiving donations from people and I called him to inform him. That was when he told me that he had launched a campaign on facebook to raise money for my daughter’s medical treatment in Ghana,” the elated woman said.
As soon as the campaign was launched on facebook, Nigerians from all walks of life responded to the clarion call to save Queen.  They donated generously. Although, there were those who tried to discourage others from helping, believing it was a scam; many kept faith with their consciences and braved all odds to give their widow’s might. The summation of their widow’s might have now added up to more money than Queen requested. And to further demonstrate the saying that one good turn deserves another, the little girl has now decided to donate N100, 000 to assist another young boy in Taraba State, who needs N2.5million for corrective heart surgery abroad.
Imran has a heart condition medically referred to as ductus arteriosus, which leads to difficulty in breathing, poor feeding, recurrent pneumonia and failure to thrive well.
Commenting on the development and what inspired him to launch the campaign on facebook, Mr. Okuhu said: “First, I know Queen’s mother and secondly, I am a very emotional person. I have passed through a lot of challenges to be able to understand that life is not just that smooth. I believe that if you have one small platform and capacity to offer help and you don’t make that platform available, you are denying God something and you will pay for it. So, when it came, I felt a compelling need. I didn’t even know what was going to happen because there were credibility issues; I have never seen more than 99.9 percent of the people I interact with on the social network. So, it was a risk I needed to take and when help started coming in, I had a unique sense of fulfillment that I braved the odds to take up the challenge.
“So, I feel extremely fulfilled. Life is not all about material acquisitions; it is about the tangible impacts you make in the lives of other people. It gives me a sense of fulfillment to make someone else happy. That is the true source of happiness especially people who are not filially related to you. When you help your brother or sister, it doesn’t have that depth of fulfillment as when you offer such assistance to somebody you don’t know; somebody you may not see tomorrow.”
Ikem also commended the little girl’s heart of philanthropy, saying, “I am particularly happy that Queen is taking this step to give something from what she got to ensure that somebody else somewhere benefits. It’s wonderful.”
For Mrs. Ejoor, it is happiness all the way. Expressing gratitude to Nigerians, she said: “I just want to appreciate and thank Nigerians for helping me when I needed help from them. I cried out and I was helped. I thank them so much. I am so grateful. At least they have given my daughter a lifeline again. I am more than grateful to all of them that contributed in one way or the other. God will meet them at their points of needs individually.”
And from the little philanthropist to Nigerians, she said: “I feel fine and I thank Nigerians for making it possible for me to travel to Ghana for this check up. I am very grateful.”

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