Today is the day we all join Dr Zainab Bagudu and the Medicaid family, to walk away cancer in Abuja, and the rest of Nigeria. My neighbour who travelled with me for the walk did his usual before we touched down at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport. He insisted that because of the sly nature of cancer, it stays a little away from the emotions it creates but I disagreed with him. Cancer stays within the emotions it creates, I pressed further but he asked me
Can you show me proof that cancer stays within the emotions it creates?
That one is simple. How many persons suffering from cancer have you encountered, especially those suffering from advanced conditions of the disease? How many of their family members aware of this condition have you engaged? Did you look into their eyes?
Look into their eyes?
Ah, yes, wait a minute. Give me a moment. I must sing you the song that has just occurred to me
What are you talking about?
Thank you Bryan Adams. You caused it. You’ve just brought Bryan Adams to Abuja
You’re not serious
Listen: Look into my eyes
You will see
What you mean to me
Search your heart
Search your soul
And when you find me there
You’ll search no more
Don’t tell me it’s not worth walking for
You can’t tell me it’s not worth walking for
You know it’s true…
Stop right there. Mm. Bryan Adams in Abuja indeed. But seriously? You nailed it, with your remix. See, I’m all teared up. Now you want to take my mind to those judges who preside over those singing competitions we watch on television when I’m supposed to hear from you how Dr Zainab, Medicaid and the rest of us can successfully walk away cancer from Nigeria.
They have treated over 600 cancer patients, screened over 30,000 Nigerians over the last ten years, and they have remained at the vanguard of agencies raising awareness about the disease. They’ve also been raising funds to support the treatment of indigent cancer patients.
But all that is a drop in the bucket
No it is not and this is why. They are relentless. And they are taking the challenge against cancer one progressive step at a time. A difference in the life of one cancer patient is a difference in the life of all, ultimately. Do you remember that little boy that threw back into the sea, sea snails that were washed ashore by the waves?
Ok, I will summarize the story for you but before I do that let me quickly remind you of what Bill Gates said in Lyon, France at the Global Fund launch recently. ‘This is a big day in the history of AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria – and one that no one expected two decades ago when the diseases were at their peak…’ Do you know what got him and the others there? Being relentless, and taking one progressive step after another. Someday, the world would pick a date by what time it would have eradicated cancer, like it has just done for malaria, HIV/AIDS and Tuberculosis. You can bet on it. Meanwhile, here is how the story about the little boy proceeded. With his tiny hands, he continued to pick and hurl back into the sea those helpless creatures washed ashore. An old man who stood by and watched the fascinating spectacle eventually walked up to him and told him he was wasting his time. ‘Can’t you see that what you are doing is not making any difference in the condition of these sea snails?’ he asked the boy. He paused, bent down, picked up a sea snail and threw it back into the sea then answered the old man, ‘What I’ve been doing might be considered a waste of time but I have just made a difference in the life of the last one I threw back into the sea.’