The story of Chukwu Agaezi, better known as Oliver Joy comes off as one of those inspirational Nollywood scripts, yet it is a real-life story of grit and resilience in the face of natural challenges thrown at her by life.
Born 31-years-ago in Abia state, Joy was disabled from birth as she is diagnosed with spinal muscle atrophy which has rendered her unable to move and confined to a wheelchair.
“Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is a genetic condition that makes the muscles weaker and causes problems with movement.”
This condition means that Joy is unable to perform many physical activities as she said she has been dependent on people around her. Yet, she has never given herself to self-pity as she has achieved many things including becoming a university student and getting married and giving birth to a baby.
Narrating her story to Legit.ng, Joy said:
“I am the fourth child out of six children in my family. I am physically challenged. I’m unable to perform some physical activities and I am almost totally, physically dependent on people around me. I am a Christian. I hate self-pity, I don’t give up easily.”
However, despite her physical disability and the limitations it placed on her, Joy has moved on amazingly with her life. She has finished her secondary school, and gained admission into Nnamdi Azikiwe University, UNIZIK, Awka where she is studying History and International Relations.
Joy gets married
Against all odds, Joy has found love and is happily married to Oshian Abraham Goodnews. Her husband who dropped out from Delta State University due to lack of funds has said he passionately loves his wife as he describes her as the best thing that has ever happened to him.
“My wife is the best thing that has happened to me. She is everything I have got. I am so happy. I fell head over heels. I can’t describe the joy I feel inside. I feel fulfilled and blessed.”
But how did the lovely couple come to know each other and how did they connect so powerfully to the admiration and applause of many people?
Legit.ng paused this question to them and the husband has a ready answer:
“I met my wife on Facebook. We had a chat and she was so real. I visited her from Delta state to Anambra state where she was working. Honestly, I started growing the love. We lost communication at some points, but we got back together again.”
Because of his decision to stick with and marry Joy, Goodnews said he lost some friends who would rather part ways with him than support him.
Giving birth to a child
Then came the greatest news which Joy herself has described as a mystery. She said she never thought it was possible and she feared she could give birth to a deformed child.
But it came to pass that she got pregnant, carried her baby successfully for 9 months and gave birth to a healthy baby boy.
She spoke of the feeling:
“Carrying my own baby is my greatest achievement on earth, a dream come through and an answered prayer.”
Legit.ng wanted to know how Joy was able to bear the physical stress of carrying a baby with her disability. Her answer gave her off as a very determined person.
Honestly, I had no much challenges during pregnancy. I was 24 weeks pregnant before I had my first pregnancy test and I never went for antenatal until then. I was just living my normal life, going about my daily activities. I was in my first year in school then. I had much stress and no rest, and I had no time to eat sometimes. I had few hours of sleep. I ride my wheelchair under hot sun sometimes to my department but I was very strong.”
The biggest challenge she had was when she started transiting to the hospital for her antenatal visits. Even for women that can walk on their own, this happens to be a challenge.
She recalled how she struggled then:
“I started going for antenatal at six months and doctors confirmed that I was doing great. My worst challenge then was mobility and discrimination from some physically able people around.
“I remembered that in some occasions I had to stand and wait for long to see a bus that will allow me to sit in the front seat which was my only comfortable place to sit because of my condition. We had to pay extra money for the drivers to carry my wheelchair.”
Yet, it was not only transportation that was her challenge as she also faced serious discrimination from nurses and doctors, some of whom refused to attend to her because of her physical disability. She however refused to be dampened.
She continued her story of resilience:
“At the hospital, some nurses wouldn’t want to attend to me. I had to wait for a nurse who may want to give me attention. The same with some doctors. On my day of delivery, they demanded extra pints of blood but I had none. The doctors were really amazed at how successful God made it be.”
Nigerian couple welcomes a set of triplets
In a related story, Legit.ng reported that a Nigerian man, Nnamdi Nwankwo, and his wife were blessed with a set of triplets after 25 years of waiting.
The beautiful kids were dedicated at the Assemblies of God Church, Ojodu, Lagos to the admiration of many.
When their story broke online, many were inspired by the great testimony.