Colleagues and associates of an Abuja-based journalist, Ronald Mutum, are battling to save him from cancer.
Life seemed normal for Mutum until two years ago, when he was diagnosed with bladder cancer and his world came crashing down.
Despite his struggles with the ailment, he lost his job and started battling with medical bills.
This is in addition to his responsibilities to his wife Angel and three children: Caroline 5, Ronald Jnr 3 and Nathan 2.
Mutum has spent the last two years undergoing radiotherapy and chemotherapy at the National Hospital Abuja, Nigeria, but now requires treatment outside Nigeria to stay alive.
His former colleague at Daily Trust, who now lives in Boston, United States of America, Francis Okeke, initiated a fundraiser for Mutum recently.
Okeke explained that at the behest of Oncology consultants in Nigeria, further treatment is recommended at better equipped hospitals in India and Ronald cannot afford the cost.
“Thirty thousand dollars ($30, 000) is the proposed estimate to cater for the next stage of treatment in India,” Okeke revealed.
A breakdown of the overall cost shows that PET/CT Scan and Baseline investigations, including PDL 1 / molecular/genomic testing, amounts to $2000.
He would undergo four biweekly Immunotherapy courses at $3500 per course, amounting to $14000.
A re-evaluation with PET/CT Scan will cost $650, with the cost of surgery standing at an estimated $13900.
“The above does not include travel costs for Ronald and Angel his care-giver, who would accompany him. Ronald and Angel have been married for over 5 years,” Okeke explained.
Recalling his close toes with Ronald while he worked with Daily Trust, Okeke stated, “As a security, defence and financial crimes correspondent, he demonstrated profound commitment to investigating, reporting and exposing sleaze in both the public and private sectors in Nigeria.”
As of Friday, the fundraiser had generated $3,529 out of the $40,000 needed for the medical bills.
Back in Nigeria, colleagues, friends and associates of Mutum have also set up a WhatsApp group, “Save Ronald Mutum” with 197 participants to raise some funds for him.
Molly Kilete of The Sun Newspaper, who initiated the group, said she was touched by his condition and summoned a meeting where the fundraiser platform was set up.
Kilete said she covered the Defence beat with Mutum and if it were to be someone else in need of help, Mutum would have done the same.
“Ronald is nice and intelligent. He makes friends very easily and takes people’s burden like his own. He is an easy-going guy, but unfortunately this has happened and in the course of the crisis, he lost his job and this was why I mobilised one or two people for a meeting,” she said.
When contacted, Mutum’s family declined comment, but Mutum gave his consent for the fundraiser.
His former colleague at Daily Trust, Victoria Bamas, said Mutum’s condition made her realise that in Nigeria, unless you are in the top wealthy position, you are one sickness away from being absolutely broke even after working for decades in what is considered a middle-income level.
“It goes to show that more needs to be done about our health system,” she said.
His associate and former colleague, Daniel Adugbo, said he felt pained and devastated when he recently learnt that Mutum had been diagnosed with cancer.
Adugbo called on Nigerians to rally round Mutum to raise the funds needed for his treatment.
“My prayers are with him and as a friend/colleague, I will support him financially. Ronald or Mutumina, as I teasingly call him, is a great guy and a professional. I wish I could afford all the costs for his treatment. I believe that God would make a way for him to get the treatment, get well and finish the race of life. He still has a lot to offer to his family, the journalism profession and Nigeria,” Adugbo said.
Interested donors to send their donations to Iremide Adepegba 2023159835 UBA