Inioluwa is a 4 year old jovial and very strong little girl who was diagnosed with Wilms’ tumour in 2016. She has been through 6 cycles of Chemotherapy, a Nephrectomy (surgical removal of the kidney) in April 2016 and today she is a cancer survivor.
Samuel is a 10 year old quiet, reserved, loving and extremely well mannered boy. He loves soccer and was sad he couldn’t play soccer with his friends when he was diagnosed with Wilms’ tumour in January 2016. After innumerable scans, blood tests, doctor visits, surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy, he is able to fight to this point and is still fighting.
Damilola is a 15 year old girl who had a massive tumour on her jaw for over a year. She underwent a successful, but grueling 10 hour surgery at Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) in April 2017 to remove the tumour. She also had a mandibular reconstructive plate prosthetic inserted in her jaw and today, she is fully recovered and back in school.
The list is endless but a lot more needs to be done. Championing the course to fight for the lives of these amazing young heroes and many more is the beautiful, delectable, highly intelligent and selfless Clinical Radiation Oncologist who graces my Leading Woman today, Adedayo Joseph and she is the Founder of Dorcas Cancer Foundation.
Dorcas Foundation was named after Dorcas who died on the 13th of July 2015. The presence of her mother who came to encourage everyone to support and help save the lives of other children was a sober and reflective moment for us all.
Adedayo recently launched her Childhood Cancer handbook series and it was an enlightening day in all ramifications.
We couldn’t hold back our tears as the stories of mothers whose children are currently cancer free came up on the screen, they told their story and how they suffered and struggled to get help for their children and Dorcas Foundation came to their rescue.
I remember during her opening speech, Adedayo actually broke down while sharing the story of another survivor called Joshua. Joshua’s case was different; he was on the waiting list for months. He was finally given a chance and by the time Adedayo met Joshua’s mum, she couldn’t hold back her tears. Her heart was heavy as Joshua’s mum began to share her story and how she had sold everything she had in her life.
“The only thing she did not sell was what people refused to buy from her.” Adedayo told us all as we listened attentively to her. Joshua spent 8 months and ten days in the ward with his mother and as Adedayo painted the picture to us, on how his mother said her legs were sore from moving from one place to another in almost a whole year in LUTH, I could personally relate because my mother died in LUTH.
Meeting and listening to Adedayo melted my heart. When you see Adedayo, without even asking you can tell she is doing fine so going out of her way to help others is certainly not for the gains as many people believe NGOs are…a completely wrong assertion to conclude that all NGOS can’t be trusted. She buttressed my point when she said “I didn’t grow up caring for people; I grew up as a spoilt last child. I had older ones that gave me all I needed; I had parents who provided for all my needs especially when I said I was going to study Medicine. I never worried about money because I was so spoilt but, working in the cancer clinic changed me. I saw myself talking to people who were going to die because they couldn’t afford going for treatment.”
“Money that I had to do as I wanted, someone else lacked. I think of when I go on holidays and calculate what I have spent and imagine the difference it would have made in someone’s life so it got to a point that I said to myself, I am blessed and I am not going to feel guilty about it but I can do something for those who are less fortunate than I am. Yes I work hard, I study my life out for every exams that I write but, someone else will do same if they are in my position, they aren’t any different from me it’s only their circumstances that is different.” Adedayo shared.
The quote ‘not for ourselves alone are we born’ changed Adedayo’s perception to life. She realised that it was time to stop living for herself. “Trust me, there is no joy like the joy of giving back, there is nothing as fulfilling like when you change somebody’s life. When you pay for chemotherapy for a child, you have saved the life of a child and that is why I am 100 percent committed to this.”
“NGOs are tagged to have bad reputation I know but I tell people, our books are opened, stroll into our office at any given time and our records will be open to you. I am not in this for money at all; it’s about raising funds to help save these children. There are children on the waiting list today, some have been on the waiting list and have died waiting for help to come but we couldn’t because we didn’t have funds. I appeal to individuals, government and private organisations to please help commit to us today.” With tears in her eyes, Adedayo pleaded.
If there was one thing that stood out in the presentations of distinguished speakers that included the chief launcher, Oladeinde Olusoga Joseph, a retired Rear Admiral; Peju Daodu, a Physician; Seye Akinsete, a Consultant Pediatric Hemato-Oncologist with LUTH; Yetunde Fatogun and Remi Ajekigbe, A Professor of Radiotherapy and Oncology at LUTH among other guests present, it was the truth staring us all in the face, we all need to contribute our quota to help in saving the lives of the underprivileged requiring cancer treatment. Visit www.tdcf.ng to find out how you can be part of this laudable initiative.
Adedayo is a member of several international oncology associations such as the American and European Societies for Medical Oncology (ASCO & ESMO respectively). She is a member of African Organisation for Research and Training in Cancer (AORTIC) and Association of Radiation and Clinical Oncologists in Nigeria (ARCON). Aside being a founding board member and the director of The Dorcas Cancer Foundation, a non-profit organisation out to help children with cancer in Nigeria, she is also the Medical Director of Visiting Medical Services Ltd, a convenience health care service aimed at providing off-site and accessible patient care experiences in Lagos area.
Adedayo is also a board member and consultant at The Pediatric Centre, a leading children’s hospital set in Lekki region of Lagos state, an active member of several NGOs including Project Feed 2000, ProActive Foundation, Sebeccly Cancer Care, Serving with Love Foundation to mention a few. She is a promoter of women’s health issues, advancement of healthcare in Nigeria and youth empowerment. She mentors several young women and men in both medical and non medical fields.
Written By: KEMI AJUMOBI