12 Health Not today, death! to live with it because I felt there was nothing I could do about it. When I found out that my older brother had also died from sickle cell, I lost the will to live. I was assured that I wouldn’t live beyond 21, so what was the point in trying? Just because an illness is passed down by DNA it doesn’t necessarily mean you will die from it. Sickle cell disease is an inherited lifelong condition that produces unusually shaped red blood cells. They don’t live as long as healthy blood cells and can get stuck in blood vessels, which causes illnesses that could shorten your lifespan. But this didn’t stop Ronke from escaping death. ‘A t the age of 7, I was diagnosed with sickle cell, passed down from my mother who had it’s traits. This meant that there was a problem with my haemoglobin – the substance in the red blood cells that is supposed to carry oxygen around my body. This caused me constant pain, restricted me from taking part in physical activities and to make matters worse I was told I wouldn’t live beyond the age of 21. The first time I heard this I felt like there was no point in living; at the same time it frightened me to know that I had a death sentence constantly hanging over my head. With time, however, I learned That was when one of my friends invited me to the Universal Church. There I heard real life stories of people who, through faith, were able to overcome serious problems in their lives and that brought me hope. I then learnt the concept of the ‘Challenge of Faith’ and I put all my strength into it because I wanted to see the same change those people had seen. Taking part in the Challenge of Faith wasn’t easy as I was still in and out of hospital, but I did my best. I didn’t give up. My faith was awakened through this challenge. I continued following the medical advice as usual but I chose to believe that I could get better. I became more positive, holding on to the vision of myself overcoming this difficulty. Normally whenever I would go for a check-up the haemoglobin in my blood would be 50% – the highest it would ever get was 70% – which meant I wasn’t receiving sufficient oxygen. I began to notice a big difference, however. My haemoglobin was hitting 90%! The nurse was astonished because this had never happened before. I was so happy and for a year now I haven’t felt so good. I can do everything and anything I put my mind to. Today I am 26 years old and truly happy as I don’t have to live in fear of dying.’ Ronke Dosumu When all hope seems lost There are good reasons to renew your hope and be confident that better days are coming. Here are four of them. FOCUS ON WHAT YOU CAN DO, EVERYTHING PASSES WHAT DOES NOT IT’LL NEVER BE NOT ON WHAT YOU CANNOT KILL YOU MAKES MORE THAN YOU Life goes on. If there is one thing in life that is certain, So much energy is wasted when you YOU STRONGER CAN BEAR 1 2 it is that everything is guaranteed to change. You can find strength by reminding yourself that the difficult situation you are facing will not last forever. Nothing stays the same. 3 Every time you go through a difficult situation, you come out the other side stronger. Good lessons often come disguised as problems. 4 Maybe you feel that you can’t overcome an obstacle in your life, but the truth is, you can. Your problems will never be too big for you to deal with. worry about things you cannot do or change. Do what you can instead of worrying about what you cannot! Instead of being anxious, channel your energy into doing something that is possible. Then lay your head on your pillow and leave the rest — the impossible — to God. Do you need more motivation? Then read these four points again, but this time read them aloud. Don’t ask why, but it works. *The UCKG HelpCentre’s spiritual advice is to be seen as a complement to the scientifically-proven treatment you may be receiving. The UCKG HelpCentre does not claim to heal people but believes that God can through the power of faith. Always follow your doctor’s instructions.