Asiata Onikoyi-Laguda, the lady accepted to be the most established sickle cell tolerant on the planet, celebrated her 91st birthday yesterday – a deed that is obviously in resistance of science.
Onikoyi was conceived in November 1925, when the normal future of individuals living with sickle cell issue was only five years.
Onikoyi, who was conceived in an indistinguishable year from Margaret Thatcher, first female English PM; Malcolm X, social liberties extremist, and Idi Amin Dada, Ugandan despot, more established than “all” known (recorded) sickle cell patients on the planet.
As of late as 1973, the normal life expectancy for individuals with sickle cell ailment was just 14 years. As of now, future for these patients can achieve 50 years and over, New York Times reports.
In 2013 alone, 176,000 individuals lost their lives to sickle cell malady, the greater part of them matured 21 years of age and under.
According to a special report by the Sickle Cell Journal, she is the second of four children born by her parents AbdulYekeen Ishola Onikoyi, a prince of the Onikoyi ruling house, and Aishat Alake Onikoyi from Kudeti, Ibadan.
Due to the level of illiteracy at the time of her birth, she was never diagnosed to have had sickle cell; she just had all the symptoms, including terrific pain, which hindered her from going to school till she was 12 years old.
She struggled through primary school, and enrolled at Queens College Lagos, where she met her husband Bolaji Alakija, who went on to become a doctor.
He treated her for sickle cell, but never really told her much about her condition, as it was the culture in their day. Alakija had 27 children, five of which were with Onikoyi and the rest for his nine other wives.
Onikoyi, a devout Muslim, has performed the holy pilgrimage to Mecca 13 times and gone for lesser hajj, better known as Umrah, six times.
She says moderation kept her going and urges other sickle cell patients around the world to toe the same line.
“I have always maintained a middle road in life. Moderation keeps you going, when those who indulge themselves have lost their balance,” she says.
At 90, Onikoyi is under no dietary restrictions whatsoever; she eats salt, eggs, meat, sugar, fried food, as it pleases her.
Her blood pressure is hovering around 160/90, and she says she observed the annual 30-day Ramadan fast until she was over 88, when her children pressured her into giving it up.
Onikoyi says she reads the Bible and Quran everyday, and takes public transport in this “super-chaotic Lagos”.
She lost one of her sons in August 2014, when he was 59 and accepted it as the “will of Allah”. “I prayed to Allah that the rest of my children should outlive me,” she says.
Every year in sub Saharan Africa, more than 300,000 children are born with the sickle cell disease.