1/3 On the 26th of December, 2002, while preparing for a professional exam in my 4th year of medical school at the University of Calabar, I had a life changing accident. 

The day after Christmas, at about 4pm, I went visiting after reading at school. I took a bike and before I knew it, I was on the floor, in the middle of the road, on my back. I heard people saying, “It’s Freky, it’s Freky”. A lot of students lived in that area. I was conscious all through and there was no physical injury, but I couldn’t feel my legs. I was even thinking maybe a car had crushed them. The bike man was unconscious and bleeding. The truth is, I don’t know what happened. I don’t know if we were hit or anything. Till today, nobody has been able to tell me what happened. 
The Teaching Hospital and General Hospital were both on strike. I ended up going to my school’s medical centre. Word got to my parents, and they came to Calabar. I was transferred on a stretcher in an ambulance to Port Harcourt. Then a helicopter was used to get me to a hospital in Lagos where I stayed from December to February, bed-bound and flat on my back. 
A CT scan was done, and the result was bad. The doctor advised that I leave the country to perform the necessary surgery, rather than him trying it. This is a well-known doctor who was very good in his field. That’s when it occurred to me that it was very bad. 
I was able to travel on a stretcher to Israel but it wasn’t cheap. The doctor told me immediately it happened, I was meant to be taken straight into surgery. I told him I understood what he was saying, but I come from Nigeria and things don’t work that way. He told us after he had seen my CT scans that the most they would be able to do is make me sit again, but I wouldn’t be able to walk.
The first surgery lasted for 7 hours. I was told I had a burst fracture of my spine (my back shattered), so they had to do a lumber fusion so I could begin to learn how to sit. There was still a lot of pain before, during and after the surgery, so I had to go for another one. They put rods and screws in my back.
2/3 I remember the first day I sat. After 5 minutes, I wanted to faint. I had to start learning how to sit again. The process wasn’t easy. I was in Israel for a while, but came back to Nigeria to do my rehabilitation which was a big mistake.
When I came back to Nigeria, reality set in. We had no facilities whatsoever and the so-called rehabilitation centre was Igbobi Hospital which is an orthopaedic hospital. My case was not a purely orthopaedic case but a neurological one. I had to go online to find out how life would be with SCI (Spinal Cord Injury).  I did a lot of research and began self-rehabilitation and a journey to an independent life by all means.
I began to have complications. I started having sores on my back and other places. It got so bad that my bones were almost showing. So, I had to find a way to do surgery to get my major sores out of the way. I battled with this for over a year, so I travelled to South Africa to do the surgery. 
I came back and wanted to continue medical school. My friend Roby had helped me defer my admission. When I went back to school, I was told I couldn’t continue with Medicine and Surgery because they didn’t have the facilities for me to continue. I was very sad because I didn’t think anybody would stop me from continuing school because of what happened to me. 
In 2007, I did an inter-university transfer into the University of Port Harcourt to study ‘Human Physiology’. It wasn’t easy, but I graduated with a second class upper. I didn’t stop there, I also did my masters in Physiology. 
Before I finished my first degree, I started to volunteer with an organisation. Then I became an intern before I started working with them. I found expression in volunteering in the non-profit sector.
3/3 In 2013, I started an Organisation called Faecare Foundation, where we reach out to vulnerable groups in communities; orphans and vulnerable children, persons with disability and youths. We also have children under our free education program. We have programs and projects in Rivers and Akwa Ibom States, where we do vocational skills training and mentoring. I also do speaking and some coaching. 
In 2014, I applied for the Mandela Washington Fellowship (MWF); President Barack Obama’s Young African Leadership Initiative Program. I was one of the people selected from Nigeria to attend the program at the University of Delaware in the United States of America. I met with President Barack Obama and the icing on the cake for me was when about 40 of us were able to meet Michelle Obama in a closed meeting. For me, that was a lot of validation that I wasn’t wasting my time.
God continues to make life meaningful, because it’s one thing to overcome challenges for yourself, it’s another thing for somebody to be able to draw strength from that and make meaning of their life. 
Irrespective of what you are going through, your response to that event/experience is what will determine your outcome. I really want to encourage someone. It’s not easy o. Every day is a new challenge, but continue to look up to Jesus and you will see the problem less because God will be magnified. Wheel Chair or not, I intend to fulfil my purpose and destiny as God gives me the grace.

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