Mobility challenged Nigerian pharmacist, Blessing Mary Ocheido, has revealed that she was not born disabled.
Blessing, who recently got married , is a United Nations Youth Steering Committee member on Beijing+25, an Enterprise for Peace Scholar and a 2021 One Young World Ambassador. She has won several awards, including a humanitarian award from Voice Global recognizing her advocacy to reduce inequalities in Nigeria.
The disability advocate made the revelation on Thursday, July 1, as she counts down to her birthday.
According to Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria graduate, she was a perfect and healthy kid but stopped walking the day a nurse gave her an injection when she fell ill with malaria over twenty years ago.
“It’s officially 14 days to my birthday! As such, my 14 days of gratitude begin today. Today, I’m grateful that a major disability I suffered in my childhood did not destroy me,”
Growing up, I was a rambunctious kid; I loved to play, dance and make mischief. My mum loves to tell stories of my numerous troublesome acts like almost getting myself drowned in the bathtub while everyone was going frantic looking for me.
I was perfect kid- healthy, precocious and beautiful. Then I fell ill with malaria and was taken to a clinic. My mum said the moment the nurse injected me, she knew something went wrong. A large chunk of blood jutted out because apparently, the syringe had gone in wrongly and hit my sciatic nerve. When my mum complained, she was told there was nothing to it.
However, as soon as we got home, I fell in front of the door and that was the last day I ever walked… It’s been over twenty years of navigating a developing society like Nigeria with a disability and I must confess, it has been immensely difficult.
Nevertheless, I’m grateful that my disability did not stop me or define my fate negatively. I have gone on to become almost everything I dreamt of as a child- a pharmacist, writer and owner of a thriving business. Sailing on the wings of my experience, I have even become an international advocate for persons with disabilities working closely with organizations like UN Women, One Young World, British Council, We are Family Foundation, Pollination Project and Voice Global.
There’s much more I have my eyes set on, nevertheless, I’m truly grateful for how far I’ve come in spite of how much life stacked up against me from the start.
I’m grateful that I have been able to look past the hate, the discrimination, the mockery, the pain and to have stayed the course. Totally grateful.