Please read this from Segun Odegbami,and you would marvel at BRF's benevolence.I had the same experience from BRF last year.Enjoy it-
Peter Fregene Walks Again!
“Within weeks of intervening the Lagos State governor contacted his Delta State counterpart, sent a medical team to Sapele, and flew Peter Fregene to Lagos. Peter was admitted straight into probably the best and most expensive hospital in Nigeria, the Reddington Hospital in Victoria Island, Lagos, where sophisticated tests revealed what had been wrong with Peter for years undetected. He underwent some very delicate surgery involving his spinal cord and within days Peter’s 8 year ordeal found relief.”
have written twice about him in recent months. When I did, I did not have the complete picture. Now I do, but that’s not why I am writing about him again this week. I am doing so now because I am a witness to a story I must tell!
He has been in and out of hospitals for eight years. In all those years he lay on his back unable to walk, with a speech impediment and severe stomach spasms that wracked his body in excruciating pain several times every day. Three years ago, so bad was his condition that rumours spread that he was dead and many of those who had been close to him and had witnessed his pain-full existence heaved a sigh of relief, until they discovered later that he was still alive and was still living in his ‘hell’. In the past four months I have been very close to the new developments on his condition. Last week, during the Easter break, I went to visit him not having seen him since I travelled abroad four weeks ago. I saw him and was so happy at what I saw that I sought his permission to write his full story. He agreed. This is it as narrated to me by his beautiful wife, Tina, who had stood by him every minute of the past eight years!
His ordeal started one dark morning in Warri, Delta State, on October 22, 2001. Peter returned home from training his team, and went into the bathroom to take his bath as usual. It was a long ear-piercing sound coming from the bathroom a few minutes later that gave the first indication that something terrible had happened to him. His wife rushed into the bathroom and found her husband sprawled on the floor, screaming in pain and holding on to his two legs. The healthy man that had walked on his two feet into his bathroom had to be carried out, and for eight years after that he could not walk again!
With the help of the children Peter was carried to the seating room where, not knowing what else to do, Tina applied some ointment they had at home to his legs and massaged them. The family had assumed it was a temporary thing that would go away after a few days with rest and massage.
How wrong they were. As the days went by his condition worsened and Tina was advised by friends and family members to take him to native doctors in his village believing that his case could only be due to some spiritual attack. That’s how his torturous journey to hell began.
From November 2001 to June 2002 he remained in the village receiving all manner of traditional treatments that did nothing to alleviate his condition. Then his long-term employers, NEPA FC, intervened by sending a doctor to see him. The club wanted to send him abroad for treatment but needed a proper medical report from a good hospital first. That’s how the doctor from NEPA recommended that he be taken to either of the University Teaching hospitals in Ibadan or Enugu.
The family chose Ibadan and took him there, where, unfortunately, on arrival, they learnt that staff of the hospital were on strike and would not attend to, or admit, any patients. They, however, met a sympathetic doctor who referred them to Teju Clinic run by one of the consultants from UCH. Peter was taken there and immediately admitted. All manner of tests were carried out to diagnose his ailment.
After four months in Teju clinic he was discharged. It did not appear as if the hospital knew exactly what was wrong with him as the only treatments he received were physiotherapy and pain killing medication to reduce his spastic pains. With no improvement on his condition he was taken back to Sapele where he continued to receive treatment for another six weeks in a local hospital there.
He was in Sapele when the Delta State government heard of his condition and decided to come to his aid. With a referral from the hospital in Sapele he was moved to the University of Benin Teaching Hospital, UBTH. He was admitted there on August 8, 2003 and remained in the hospital for the next 10 months.
The treatment he received there was mainly physiotherapy and therapy for his slurred speech (as he was losing his ability to speak). After 10 months, without any significant improvement, he was discharged by the hospital. The Delta State government offset his hospital bills and gave him some more money for his upkeep at home. Once again the family was advised to take him back to traditional doctors. Within a short period the little money they had ran out as Peter was ferried from one native doctor to another who administered various forms of unorthodox treatment that did nothing for his steadily deteriorating condition. In all those years he was lying on his back unable to walk with little feeling in both feet.
With funds exhausted and help coming from the occasional token cash gifts from a few visiting friends, members of All-Stars (retired footballers in Sapele), his coaching colleagues in Warri, and his meagre pension he remained at home for the next several years, his family exhausted and frustrated. Several times his wife said she saw him weeping in pain, frustration and helplessness, as she resorted to prayers. Last year a glimmer of hope came when MTN, the communications company, contacted me and wanted the name of any retired footballer that needed help.
Being aware of Peter’s case I gave them his name. A few weeks later they intervened and brought him in an ambulance to Lagos to participate in the charity edition of the popular television game show ‘Who Wants To Be A Millionaire’. Some of the funds raised from the game show were donated to him after which he was returned to Sapele, back to his ‘hell’.
Meanwhile, his wife kept calling me and kept a regular running-commentary of his worsening state of health. That’s when I wrote about it and was divinely led to meet Governor Babatunde Fashola, whose relationship with Nigerian football and footballers is well acknowledged. He promptly intervened and the full extent of what he did very quietly and unobtrusively will one day be told.
But let me summarise. Within weeks of intervening the Lagos State governor contacted his Delta State counterpart, sent a medical team to Sapele, and flew Peter Fregene to Lagos. Peter was admitted straight into probably the best and most expensive hospital in Nigeria, the Reddington Hospital in Victoria Island, Lagos, where sophisticated tests revealed what had been wrong with Peter for years undetected. He underwent some very delicate surgery involving his spinal cord and within days Peter’s 8 year ordeal found relief. The operation was successful and Peter immediately regained some feeling and mobility in his feet. He was later discharged from the hospital and was made an outpatient to receive intensive physiotherapy to re-mobilise his legs and hopefully reduce his stomach spasms.
The Lagos State government has put him up in one of its guest houses and has provided him with exercise machines and a team of visiting doctors and physiotherapists, constantly monitoring his progress and guiding him through the long, difficult and challenging process of rehabilitation. Like a new born baby Peter would have to learn to walk again.
Last weekend I saw Peter with my two ‘Unclad’ eyes get up from his bed with the support of his wife, and gave me one of the most wonderful demonstrations of my life. He stood erect on his very weak and wobbly legs, first supported by the metallic walking aid that was provided to help him learn to walk again.
Then he put even that aside, and stood unaided. He was shaking so badly I expected him to tumble and fall at any moment. But no, he slowly dragged one foot after the other, tentative step after tentative step, like a child taking his first walk! Tears welled in my eyes and in his as he continued to drag his feet, one step after another, a majestic wonder unfolding! Peter had risen from the ‘dead’, revived by God through the benevolence and compassion of a man, a great governor who would not even let his commissioner for sports know what he was doing! Peter Fregene is surely, slowly but steadily on the road to recovery.
That road obviously is still long and challenging, but with what I saw last Easter Monday, God’s miracle shall sustain and, one day soon, Apo will be fully back!
So what do you think of BRF.Please give your candid opinion.Thanks.