Zainab Aliyu, born October 14, 1992, is the first child and only daughter in the midst of four younger brothers. Nicknamed Beauty because of her fine looks, Zainab is a part three student reading International Relations at the Ahmadu Bello University Zaria.
According to family sources, Zainab was doing great in school until she was diagnosed at the International Medical Center (IMC) Cairo with Hodgkin’s disease, a type of lymphoma, which is a cancer originating from white blood cells called lymphocytes.
As a result, Zainab’s studies had to be put on hold to attend to what matters most – her life, without which it would be impossible for her to make her dream a reality.
Zainab’s predicament, Weekly Trust heard, started at the age of nine when she developed a tiny lymph node on the right side of her neck, which her parents thought to be normal with children. However, by the time she was 15 the lymph node had multiplied and became swollen, though with no pain.
Alarmed, Zainab was taken to a hospital in Egypt for thorough check up, where an extraction of the lymph node was done but came out negative of cancer.
But few months after her return to Nigeria, another lymph node appeared. Zainab, being lucky, was sponsored to a hospital in Dubai for another checkup where the same procedure made in Egypt was repeated.
Again, it came out negative and she was placed on pain a reliever.In 2009, more lymph node appeared on Zainab’s neck, prompting her parents to take her to the Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital (ABUTH) Shika and Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital (AKTH) Kano.
Clinical tests in both hospitals all turned out negative. But the result from ABUTH showed iota of Brucellosis (a highly contagious disease) in Zainab’s blood but was not significant. All this time Zainab was never sick.
In the middle of 2012, she developed serious ear pain and an ENT (ear, nose and throat) doctor at the National Ear Care Centre Kaduna, ordered for a surgery where her lap skin was cut to correct the problem in the ear.
All went well and Zainab returned to school but could not cope due to what she said was excessive leg pain. Her parents thought the pain was due to the skin cut but the ENT doctor advised the parents to seek for a physician’s help.
Beginning of 2013, Zainab was taken to a private hospital in Kaduna where she was made to undergo series of lab tests and x-rays which showed lymph nodes in Zainab’s chest and Brucellosis and was placed on a six week medication.
Unfortunately, Zainab’s health deteriorated leading to severe leg pain, loss of appetite, weight loss, breathlessness, headache, nausea, backache and lethargy.
At one point, she could not walk without support. With the sponsorship of a kindhearted man Zainab was taken to the IMC Cairo where she is undergoing treatment for Hodgkin’s lymphoma (stage IV).
After 12 circles of chemotherapy, according to family sources, Zainab had a relapse, went through another circle which shows total remission.
Doctors at the IMC in a medical report jointly signed by the medical director and consultant surgeon Ali El-Badry and a consultant Dr Mahmud Salah said Zainab requires an “autologous bone marrow transplantation at the cost of $50,000 (about N9m).”
This after spending $23,000 (about N4m) for rounds of chemotherapy.
“What gives us hope is Zainab’s strong conviction that she will bounce back hale and hearty and more beautiful.
It is in this regard that we the family are soliciting for an assistance from all kind hearted Nigerians,” said a family source said.
Story by: Babangida Ruma