Stephen Sutton – Inspiration for us all especially in Nigeria where disclosure of illness remains a myth

RIP Stephen Sutton! A true inspiration for lots of people. Condolences to his family and friends.

I came across Stephen’s story a couple of months ago, his story moved me to tears. He did’t need anyone’s pity, rather he wanted all that heard his story to be inspired and make good use of their precious time here on top of the soil.




The same week I first read Stephen’s story. My sister and I were talking and she needed to cut our usual family gossips short because she had to visit a neighbour whose son was seriously ill. “What was the nature of his illness?” I asked, my sister did not know. The only apparent sign was that the young man, a student at polytechnic of Ibadan was weak with protruding abdomen. The parents have taken him to all the miracle centres around, the poor man could no longer move a limb but to be carried about.”Why didn’t they go to the hospital for a proper diagnosis?” I asked. They worry about hospital bills was my sister’s answer. They had spent a lot of money at the miracle centres and the only information going about was that lots of ministers of God have prayed on him but he has not improved a bit, instead the poor guy’s situation got worse by the day. A couple of days later my sister told me that Kola passed away in agony. The family decided to take him to the hospital when his situation was hopeless. Kola died of kidney failure. Who knew, he could have been saved by dialysis and for the long term –  kidney transplant.

Realistically, money is tight for many folks in the country. However, how about if we spend the little that we have in the right way? Getting qualified people to tell us the nature of the illness we are suffering with, rather than tie everything to spiritual battle?

Stephen Sutton was lucky to be born in the part of the world where people have moved on from non-sensible myths of unnecessary illness secrecy. I am happy that he spent the last couple of his years to inspire millions of people both in his home country, Britain and around the world. He had second chance to massively contribute his time to motivate people to donate their money to cancer research and most importantly, he had fun!

Stories like this always get my attention. In Nigeria today, if you were rich, you get your health issue sorted outside of the country and if you were lucky to come back alive, nature of the illness remained secret even when physical appearances say otherwise. How could we ever face the fact that unfortunate illness is as real as the air we breath in? And if you were poor, you are more likely to first of all take any illness to the auto-mechanic turned priest for spiritual diagnosis. And if prayers failed, you are likely to be told that your aged family member was your enemy who attacked you in dreams, any if you are unlucky to have an aged mother, she will always be the first victim of witch hunt.

It took me more than two decades to realise the death of my brothers were just unfortunate events, I was told that they were ‘eating’ up by witches.

Social media is incredible, bringing news from around the world to our reach. One day, soon I hope, we will work together to debunk all of our negative myths in Nigeria.

In the meantime, my fellow Nigerians, may we continue to live healthily and if by any chance you found yourself seriously ill, please get a proper diagnosis of your illness, at least we could have a name for it and you never know, our government may be encouraged to invest in the health sectors and all the old ladies in the neighbourhood could walk about in peace.

More on Stephen Sutton here