Living with sickle cell: The Story of Hajia Adiza Bala Faila

I met this lady some seven years ago during my days and interactions in the enterprise of student leadership particularly the National Union of Ghana
Students (NUGS) where I once served as General Secretary.

We had since become good friends and indeed a family sharing so many things in
common, ranging from politics to sports, to entertainment, and to religion.

I call her my junior mum because she bears the same name as my mum. Until a month or so ago when I visited her and she invited me to her Book
Launch on March 27, 2021, which coincides with her 30th birthday, I never knew and would definitely not have believed anyone if I was told she was
a sickle cell patient (Sickler), and had been battling this dreaded ailment all her life.

She herself informed me about her condition and added that, this was what motivated her to share her life experience on paper, in the then yet to be
launched book, titled “WILL MY STORY INSPIRE YOU? STRIVING TO SUCCESS WITH SICKLE CELL”. Shocked? Of course, I was socked and also dumbfounded, not because I didn’t believe her, but because the kind of life she lived was completely at variance with my uninformed expectations of a sickle cell carrier and for that matter Sickler.

She was super-active in all disciplines; she was lovely and lively; she was exhilarating and joyful; she was extremely intelligent in school winning
many prizes; she was adventurous; she was interactive and enthusiastic; she was political; she was a go-getter; she was so committed to the Islamic
faith like none other, and above all, she was that person that anybody would want to be with.

With this in mind, how could I ever have any basis to think that my junior mum, Hajia Adiza Bala Faila had been battling a life-long and life-threatening sickness? How could I believe that she was a sickle cell carrier? Just how?

But, it is what it is, and we can only say, Almighty ALLAH knows best. Yes, like every other sickle cell patient, she has also been falling sick, but she just wouldn’t allow her condition and the thought of imminent death to impede or obstruct her quest to enjoy life to the fullest.

Not even the fact that none of her direct siblings who were also sickle cell carriers or Sickler lived beyond 18 years. All three died before they got to 18.

She is the only surviving Sickler in the immediate family. Not even the fact that her parents [as they themselves said at the book launch] had almost given up on her when her condition at many times was becoming more and more dire and precarious.

The result of her positive defiance of her condition (state of being) and determination to succeed in life is that, today, not only has she turned 30 and yet strong and kicking, she has also become a successful career woman (CEO of the popular Shamfiz J Company Ltd and Founder of Shamfiz J
Foundation).

She also works with a reputable government Agency even as she undertakes her master’s programme in Public Relations at the Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ). More significantly, Hajia Adiza is a happily married woman.

LESSONS: What will kill you is not your condition (health or otherwise) but your acceptance of that condition as being your destiny, and that, which
defines your life.

The Adiza story has thought us that we have what it takes to overcome whatever conditions we find ourselves.

We should not be discouraged by our conditions. We can certainly defeat it before it defeats us. And our biggest weapon to defeating our condition is our MIND.
In the meantime, I encourage you to also grab a copy of Hajia Adiza Bala Faila’s book – ”Will My Story Inspire You? STRIVING TO SUCCESS WITH SICKLE CELL”,. Have a good read of the book, and I assure you that you will come and thank me afterwards.

When reading the book, I encourage you to pay particular attention to the content on page 136, which comes with the medical genotype chart for intending couple.
Let us show love to people living with Sickle Cell even as we join hands together to fight the disease. To this end, I commend not only her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Bala Faila, but also the Second Lady of the Republic, Hajia Samira Bawumia, to whom the author expressed profound gratitude for her immeasurable attention and support.

#ForGodAndCountry

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