While a large number of Nigerians have expressed concern over the safety of social networking sites, 28-year-old breast cancer patient, Osarere Idiagbonya, is certainly among the few that will not agree that the sites are evil.
Her friends on Twiter had harnessed the social media site to raise over N6m for the cancer patient for overseas treatment.
PUNCH Metro learnt that Idiagbonya needed N6m for her breast cancer surgery, which is to be conducted at the Maryland Teaching Hospital, Baltimore, United States.
Her friend, Michella Jonathan, who spearheaded the social media campaign, met her on Twitter in 2010.
Jonathan told PUNCH Metro that she was moved by Idiagbonya’s condition and started the fundraising campaign on August 25, 2012 after visiting her.
Idiagbonya, a laboratory technician, had detected lumps on her left breast in June 2011. She had undergone two surgical operations to remove the lumps but was later diagnosed with breast cancer on July 31 this year.
Her dad, Robert, who developed stroke in 2011 died on August 1(Idiagbonya’s birthday), a day after he was informed that her daughter had cancer. He was buried on August 31.
Jonathan said she was moved by Idiagbonya’s story and consequently started the campaign on BlackBerry Messenger and Twitter, while also contacting some popular bloggers.
She said, “I posted her pictures and her scanned medical documents on the BBM and Twitter and Facebook. I also contacted bloggers like Linda Ikeji, Ladun Liadi, Olori Supergal and some others about it.
“Initially the responses from people were not encouraging. They thought it was a scam and insulted me on the various sites.”
“However, some of those who visited Idiagbonya at her residence to confirm the story spoke to Nigerian rapper, Ruggedman, about it and he visited her too.”
She said Ruggedman and Ice Prince shot a video clip about her plight on line. She added that Ruggedman also connected them with people who donated to Idiagbonya’s cause.
She said, “Ruggedman’s photograph with Idiagbonya, which captured his sad mood when he visited her at home, really helped in raising the funds.
“It was used on the social media together with the video clip and it helped dispel rumours that the fund appeal was a lie.”
PUNCH Metro learnt that celebrities such as Davido, Solid Star, Mo’cheedah, Alima Abubakar and Don Jazzy in the name of Marvin Records have donated to Idiagbonya’s cause.
Speaking with PUNCH Metro, Idiagbonya said she was thankful to Nigerians who were sympathetic to her plight.
She said, “When I was diagnosed with full blown cancer, it was like the whole world was crashing on me. I wondered where the help would come from.
“My father whom I had hoped would support me financially had stroke before I went for the second surgery to remove lumps on my left breast.
“My friends and other close relations had to rally round to raise the fund for surgery at the time. I was sacked from work after my first surgery.
“But, I appreciate Nigerians who learnt about my predicament on the social media and rose to my aid. They have been so good to me and I cannot thank them enough.”
Idiagbonya said she was waiting for the final medical report and referral letter from the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, which would be forwarded to Maryland Teaching Hospital before she could travel out for treatment.
She said though the N6m for the surgery had been raised, she would still need money to procure flight ticket to and fro the hospital for her sister, who would follow her abroad.
Idiagbonya added that she needed money for the chemotherapy treatment she would undertake pending her travelling abroad.
She also urged Nigerians to continue to pray for her successful surgical operation.