|The Ibekwes admit knowing their genotype before marriage, but went ahead anyway. Two of the couple's 4 lovely
children were born with sickle cell. Now, having known the disorder firsthand, the family has established a
Foundation to caution those on the outside looking in and vigorously assist those right in the hard embrace of one of
mankind's most unpredictable genetic conditions.
Dabma Sickle Cell Foundation is actually an offshoot of 'Keeping Hope Alive' a loose group of families which over the
years silently provided assistance for individuals facing the challenge of sickle cell. Dabma's founder and board
chairman, Emmanuel Dickson Ibekwe is a pastor with the Deeper Life Bible Church in Lagos; the 'call' to transform
Hope Alive into a full-fledged Foundation came in 2008, during one of the lowest points in the Pastor's running battle
against the tide of repeated crises and complications in his children.
In his welcome address, Pastor Ibekwe called for concerted effort at every level to address the problem of sickle cell
and heal the wounds it has inflicted on society. He said the Foundation was not in competition with any other
Foundation in Nigeria, but was established to complement whatever is already on the ground.
The inauguration of Dabma Foundation took place September 13 at the main auditorium of the University of Lagos.
The auditorium was filled to capacity with guests from all walks of life including scd stakeholders and Ibekwe's
friends and colleagues in the Christian ministry. The Chief of Army Staff, General Azubike Ihejirika was represented by
General Ogbonnaya Charles Okoro. Also in attendance were members of Dabma's Board of Trustees as well as
media gurus and members of the academic community. Mrs. Moronkeji Onasanya, Chairman, Skye Bank Plc, was
represented by the bank's head of corporate affairs, Mr. Kayode Akinyemi.
The book, Cruel Wounds Of Sickle Cell Anaemia is a chronicle of what Pastor Ibekwe calls his family's 'bitter
experience' of scd. He challenged other persons and families similarly challenged to come out of their self-imposed
closets into the open to tell their stories. This, he said, would help place sickle cell in its proper perspective and
counter the trivial impressions of the disorder touted in some quarters.
The acronym, 'Dabma', is formed from Daberechi, the Ibekwe's surviving child with sickle cell and 'Mama', the epithet
used for Chidinma, the family's fallen heroine. She passed away a year ago, aged 18, a student of economics at
Bell's University of Technology, Ota, Ogun State.
|THE WAGES OF
Family Turns Harrowing Experience Into Lesson For All
By Titi Aladei
|He challenged other persons and families
similarly challenged to come out of their
self-imposed closets into the open to tell their
stories. This, he said, would help place sickle
cell in its proper perspective and counter the
trivial impressions of the disorder touted in some
|Pastor & Mrs. Dickson Ibekwe