Akwa Ibom community banishes cancer patient

• Woman needs N.8m for treatment

By Josfyn Uba and Bianca Iboma

When life throws you a lemon, you make lemonade out of it. For 40-year-old Affiong Udo Frank, life has thrown much more to her than she bargained for. Life has offered her a bitter pill to swallow.
Before a small pimple-like boil appeared on her nose, which she treated casually, with the hope that it would soon disappear, the mother of three lived a normal life just like any other woman of her socio-economic class in the community.
However, things took a different dimension when her several attempts at pressing it out resulted into a bigger size. Still desperate to seek solution, Affiong began to treat the boil with hot water, but it soon metamorphosed into something she couldn’t handle.  The growth began to increase in size and later covered up her face. As it grew, her nasal track started emitting some strong, repugnant stench such that people in the community began to avoid her. With the repulsive odour oozing out of her system, she became an object of ridicule. As she walked by, people jeered at her. She couldn’t understand the strange ailment. Her daily life became a struggle as she lost her small means of livelihood. She gradually became an emotional and psychological wreck. Her immediate family members deserted her too.
As if that was not enough, when the stench persisted, the community of Ibiakpan, where she hails from in Obot Atara Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State, banished her from the village. They forcefully took her far away into the bush where she was expected to die.
“People ran away from me. I was taken away to the bush by some people who moved me out of my community. So I lived in the bush with my daughter who, incidentally, is the last of my children. We lived in the bush for months. My husband, Udo Frank, had run away when he discovered that my situation is life threatening. As I speak to you now, I don’t know his whereabouts.”
Prior to her banishment from Ibiakpan village, the mother of three certainly couldn’t cope with the upkeep of her children, especially after her husband ran away. So, she had no option than to give away her two sons as domestic helps in Port Harcourt while she lived miserably in the bush with her last child.
“They were sending me cash initially when they could, but the situation became very difficult for them to handle, so they stopped.”
For several months, Affiong lived in the bush. She went without food and drank only water to survive. “We were there for months waiting for death to snatch us but amazingly, God’s mercy kept me from dying.”
Providence smiled on the helpless woman when some missionaries who came on an Evangelical outreach in the village extended their hand of fellowship to her. “I was found by the Voice of Freedom Ministries missionaries who came for a crusade in my village.  I heard them ministering from my hideout in the bush, so I decided to go there. They saw my condition and took pity on me when they discovered that I was excommunicated from the village and have no one to care of me.”
The sick woman’s story of rejection and agony touched the good Samaritans who promptly swung into action and attended to her situation. They have made spirited efforts at helping to alleviate her long-sufferings all to no avail.
“I was taken to three hospitals for medical attention. One was a privately-owned hospital in Essien Udim Local Government Area, then the University Teaching Hospital in Uyo. There was a general hospital and finally to the University Teaching Hospital in Calabar where I had the surgery.”
Right now, Affiong could only wish that the cup would quickly pass over her. Yet, even as they wish, hope and pray, her health challenge becomes more critical. Having spent about N1m in medical treatment at different hospitals, there has been no reprieve. Although, the lump on the nose has been removed, there are more hurdles to scale. Affiong Frank currently needs to go through a session of radiotherapy in the cause of the treatment at the Eko Hospital, Lagos. She still needs the sum of N800, 000.00 for it.
The ailing mother of three c has appealed to Governors Emmanuel Udom and  Akinwunmi Ambode of Akwa Ibom and Lagos States respectively as well as other well-meaning Nigerians to save her from her current predicament.
Those that wish to help Affiong may contact Pastor Matthew Udoka Titus on 07037788131 or 08027156654.

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