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Still shine in us
Cliff and i had a sound relationship, our marriage was perfect, the perfection and magic we shared at home was blessed with two beautiful and adorable kids, we had this desire to grow old together and Cliff would always joke that he would buy me a wooden working stick when i turn 98years. We were fond of each other. However, on the eve of our seventh wedding anniversary, he complained of headache and i also realized that he ran temperature so we both met Dr Andy and he was treated of malaria.
His condition didn’t improved rather he kept complaining of weakness and his temperature was always high so we decide to go for a lab test which Dr Andy also recommended. The test showed that Cliff had Leukaemia. He had bone marrow test which indicated that he had acute myeloid Leukaemia and there was an urgent need for him to start treatment, we had very little time because of his work but had to make crucial decision because like the saying goes; “Health First.”
He chose to have his treatment in London so within few weeks, we had everything organized and he flew to London, numerous blood and marrow tests were done to determine the course of chemotherapy to administer on him and over how long the whole treatment would last. To my greatest worry, he called me and informed me that the treatment would last for a period of six months or more. The first thing that hit me while speaking with him was the cost.
I started managing his absence and organized lots of prayer section with family and friends for him and as fate may have it, he was certified free of Leukaemia after eight months and was discharged. His return back home was an answer to my prayer and i must confess that all the while he was away proved one thing to me. ‘The bond i shared with my husband’. I missed him as if he was in another planet and would never return again. One thing about Cliff was his desire to help others.
Upon his return, his focus was mainly on helping others with similar sickness, people are not well informed about the sickness so he wanted to set up a foundation with the objective of early intervention and treatment of Leukaemia but just two months of his return, he relapsed. And that would be my greatest fear and the beginning of my nightmare because for all i knew, he would go back to London and would be away again then the most disturbing question, why didn’t the initial treatment solve the problem and get my baby the cure he rightly deserved.
As much as i asked myself numerous questions, the answer to all was that he relapsed and would need to be treated again. Cliff was re-admitted in the same hospital but this time he needed a bone marrow transplant and the fight to get a matching marrow for him began. People thought that to donate marrow requires undergoing a surgery, so i thought too but only to discover that the process is just for a person to donate as little as a teaspoon full of blood to test for a tissue match . It was difficult finding a match for him because all the international bone marrow registers are overwhelmingly whites but Cliff was determined that a match would be found for him.
We spoke everyday while on his sick bed and his desire was to make sure that no black man or mixed race would go through what he was going through, he talked about how the foundation would go a very long way in creating awareness and possibly enable the Government to look into the situation thereby setting up centres for marrow donors, he believed that a match would be found to get him the treatment he desperately needed because categorically, the existing bone marrow registers provides a match for 1 match in 5 white people but 1 match in 100,000 black people.
My baby, the father of my two beautiful kids, my hero and my best friend Clifford Ubong popularly known as Cliff passed on at the age of Thirty five on the 19th of April 2015 after a long battle with Leukaemia.
Poem for Cliff.
You were like a star
You still shine in us
You didn’t go for nothing
You believed in others
Cliff for every life that knew you
You left a lasting print
Your last breath was for us
We miss you but heaven needs you
It was a fight you already won
Because that awareness you wanted
Is spreading as you desired
Rest my baby, always rest in his bosom
I will always love you