With Oc­to­ber be­ing the Breast can­cer month, we usu­ally try to fea­ture at least one sur­vivor for this month.

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But some­times, we in­stead, fea­ture a per­son, who is play­ing an ac­tive role in ways to pre­vent or ar­rest this dis­ease as early as pos­si­ble. The First Lady of Niger state, HE Amina Abubakar Bello is one of such per­sons with her NGO. Many NGOs have been cre­ated to achieve this goal. But no mat­ter how many NGOs are cre­ated to fight this dreaded dis­ease, no mat­ter how much we learn about it and ways to pre­vent and fight it, it is still the most feared and dreaded dis­ease ever. So much so that when the word is men­tioned, it is of­ten times, un­for­tu­nately, viewed as a death sen­tence to the re­ceiver of such news! But thank­fully, es­pe­cially with such NGOs avail­able, it is NOT al­ways the case. That said though, noth­ing pre­pares you for the men­tal and emo­tional an­guish even be­fore the jour­ney of the bat­tle to fight it be­gins. I re­mem­ber a late friend of mine once told me that some vic­tims lose the will to fight as soon as they get the news of their plight and this ac­tu­ally af­fects their sur­vival rate. It ac­tu­ally short­ens it be­cause of their state of mind. She said the mind plays a huge role with the out­come and I be­lieve her to a cer­tain ex­tent be­cause at some point, we can­not but ac­cept God’s will. She her­self was a one time sur­vivor un­til the cold hands of death snatched her away at the re­turn of the dis­ease. I have also been told that peo­ple go through var­i­ous stages when faced with this de­bil­i­tat­ing ill­ness. The Swiss psy­chi­a­trist Elis­a­beth-Ross, was in­spired by her work with ter­mi­nally ill pa­tients. She said de­nial, anger, bar­gain­ing, de­pres­sion and fi­nally ac­cep­tance are the var­i­ous stages pa­tients go through. In be­tween these phases, their bod­ies are rav­aged phys­i­cally and the only thing that keeps some of them go­ing is their will to live to fight the dis­ease even up till their very last breath. What I be­lieve strongly in, is the state of mind of the pa­tients. What they do with the time they have left and how they han­dle it. Aside from their un­bear­able pain, there is a silent re­silience in them. Some dig deep into their spir­i­tu­al­ity and are bet­ter pre­pared to deal with their ill­ness. They share spe­cial mo­ments with their loved ones and are able to find in­ner peace which de­fies their cir­cum­stance. Noth­ing pre­pares their loved ones for this har­row­ing jour­ney but some­how, they learn to cher­ish what time God has given them with their loved ones till they leave to rest in His bo­som. But, not all sto­ries end on a sad note. Some peo­ple have sur­vived and beaten the dis­ease. They have stared death in the face and over­come it, to God’s glory. The good thing, if one can use such a word loosely in this sit­u­a­tion, is that if de­tected early, Can­cer can be cured. And it is for this rea­son we have to give ac­co­lades to those who have made it their call­ing to make such de­tec­tions avail­able to those who oth­er­wise can­not af­ford such ex­penses. They have made it their life’s mis­sion to con­tinue to raise aware­ness and funds to en­sure women in their en­vi­ron­ment do not miss this op­por­tu­nity. This gives a small ray of hope to ev­ery woman out there that all is not lost as long as you are vig­i­lant with your body. That, at least, is a step in the right di­rec­tion. The rest, we leave in the hands of God Almighty.

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