Patrick is an incredibly brave 12-year-old with a large pituitary tumour of some sort, causing massive headaches. He needs an operation which could cost up to N2.5m.
I met Patrick and his mother in the wards at Garki Hospital, Abuja. He was complaining of really bad headaches and had been to several hospitals. Many doctors had diagnosed malaria and typhoid before a brain scan revealed that he had a brain tumour, causing increased pressure inside his brain.
The tumour is right in the middle of the brain and disturbs the flow of brain fluid. This leads to a build-up of the fluid in the head and therefore severe headaches. The tumour is also causing some pressure on the nerves to the eyes and blurring his vision. It was obvious he required an operation to stop the damage to his eyes and relieve the pressure on his brain.
In light of these, we proceeded with an urgent operation and placed a shunt inside the brain to divert the brain fluid out of his head and into the stomach. The operation has bought him some time and made him better, temporarily. However, we still need to address the tumour causing all the wahala anyway. He needs another brain operation to determine what the tumour is and remove it.
This brings to mind an internet story:
The price of a miracle
Tess heard her mom and dad talking about her little brother, Andrew. All she knew was that he was very sick and they were out of money. They were moving next month because daddy didn’t have the money for the doctor bills and the house. Only a very costly surgery could save him and it was looking like there was no one to loan them the money.
She heard daddy say to her tearful mother, “Only a miracle can save him now.” Tess went to her bedroom and pulled a glass jelly jar from its hiding place in the closet. She poured all the change out on the floor and counted it carefully. Carefully placing the coins back in the jar and twisting on the cap, she slipped out the back door and made her way six blocks to Rexall’s Drug Store with the big Red Indian Chief sign above the door.
She waited patiently for the pharmacist to give her some attention, but he was too busy at this moment. Tess twisted her feet to make a scuffing noise. Nothing. She cleared her throat with the most disgusting sound she could muster. No good. Finally, she took a quarter from her jar and banged it on the glass counter. That did it!
“And what do you want?” the pharmacist asked in an annoyed tone of voice. “I’m talking to my brother from Chicago whom I haven’t seen in ages,” he said, without waiting for a reply to his question.
“Well, I want to talk to you about my brother,” Tess answered back in the same annoyed tone. “He’s really, really sick… and I want to buy a miracle.”
“I beg your pardon?” said the pharmacist.
“His name is Andrew and he has something bad growing inside his head and my daddy says only a miracle can save him now. So how much does a miracle cost?”
“We don’t sell miracles here, little girl. I’m sorry, but I can’t help you,” the pharmacist said, softening a little.
“Listen, I have the money to pay for it. If it isn’t enough, I will get the rest. Just tell me how much it costs.”
The pharmacist’s brother was a well dressed man. He stooped down and asked the little girl, “What kind of a miracle does your brother need?”
“I don’t know,” Tess replied, with her eyes welling up. “I just know he’s really sick and mommy says he needs an operation. But my daddy can’t pay for it, so I want to use my money.
“How much do you have?” asked the man from Chicago.
“One dollar and eleven cents,” Tess answered barely audibly. “And it’s all the money I have, but I can get some more if I need to.
“Well, what a coincidence,” smiled the man; “a dollar and eleven cents – the exact price of a miracle for little brothers.” He took her money in one hand and with the other hand he grasped her mitten and said, “Take me to where you live. I want to see your brother and meet your parents. Let’s see if I have the kind of miracle you need.”
That well dressed man was Dr. Carlton Armstrong, a neurosurgeon. The operation was completed free and it wasn’t long until Andrew was home again and doing well. Mom and dad were happily talking about the chain of events that had led them to this place. “That surgery,” her mom whispered, “was a real miracle. I wonder how much it would have cost.”
Tess smiled. She knew exactly how much a miracle cost… one dollar and eleven cents!
Patrick needs his own miracle
I am asking everyone to come together and find a way we can save this singular soul. If you can help, please contact the mother, Chigozie Oguine on 08181865604. She has an account with Zenith Bank: 2080564236.
Let’s buy him a miracle.