Losing our first pink patient and the reality of cancer.

We lost our first pink patient in 2007. Her name was Nkechi. She was just 26 years old. She had visited our office and pleaded for financial assistance to help her access treatment for breast cancer. Then the Genevieve Pink Ball foundation did not exist and we had no fund to help women. We were just an advocacy platform using our magazine as a vehicle. Genevieve had hosted the very first Breast cancer ball and that shot us into prominence as the Go To breast cancer awareness place. If anyone found a lump or needed help regarding Cancer Genevieve was the place to go. That was why Nkechi reached out to us. She had no doctor referall because she had not officially seen a doctor, she had however seen pastors and traditional doctors… Although we had no funds, her story was too heart rendering to give up on her or send her away without any hope. Without a clue where the money would come from i told her we would help and then began the plea for a save Nkechi Fund.

Gradually, the money began to trickle in but we were far from our 25,000USD target. Then i got a call from one of our biggest allies in the war against breast cancer : Mrs Sola Adeoti – a survivor herself. I was in a happy daze when she pledged and then later handed me a whopping 8000USD cash. In all, we managed to raise 10,000USD. it wasnt near our target but it was better than nothing.

With joy in my heart, i called Nkechi and just before i handed her the money i asked to see her breast,  she had said it was sore like a wound and dripping with pus but nothing prepared me for what i saw … Oh God, No, I screamed silently as she unveiled her breast for my then PA and I. I knew she stood no chance – but then, I wasn’t about to play God. Cancer had ravaged what was once a lovely pair of her female anatomy. Her breast reminded me of a cupcake left outside overnight and fed on by giant soldier ants. No No No… how will she survive this? But then, I always believed in miracles and in her case only a miracle could save her.

I choked on my tears as my PA excused herself to have a good cry in the bathroom. I excused myselft too and called Mrs Sola Adeoti. I needed to let her know that Nkechi stood no chance against this advanced stage of breast cancer.

I asked Sola what to do because we both realised our little donation couldn’t save her.  She simply said to me – give her what we have and lets see if we can raise more – we couldn’t.

Then one day, a few months after, Nkechi’s boyfriend called and said Nkechi passed… I had only just started the Pinkball and couldnt handle this tragic situation and was broken. I hadn’t lost anyone i knew to cancer before Nkechi and i wasn’t sure i wanted to pursue this course. This tore me apart.

Cancer got her – Nkechi probably would have survived if she didnt waste about 2 years after she discovererd the lump  visiting herbalists and pastors who told her prayers could heal her. These frauds will get exactly what is comimg to them and as for the women; please seek professional help.

Unfortunately, Nkechi reached out to us TOO LATE!!! I don’t know that we could have saved her but i wish she came to us 2 years earlier after the initial diagnosis

As we celebrate breats cancer awareness month, Dear Ladies, the best form of prevention against breast cancer is good nutrition, healthy lifestyle, exercise and breast self exermination. Early detection saves life. If you’re reading this and would like to adopt one of our Pink Patients please call 08033257606


Betty Irabor

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