How I Battled Sickle Cell, Wrote Most Exams In Hospital Bed – UNILAG First Class Graduate


A First Class graduate of Cell Biology and Genetics from the University of Lagos, Joy Sanni, has relived how she battled sickle cell and walked with aid during her years in the hospital.

In a lengthy Twitter thread on Wednesday, the fresh graduate, via her handle @joy_fro, documented her travails while at school, revealing that she wrote her exams in a hospital bed, and even had to change her course.

She wrote, “Entering UNILAG with six legs and graduating with my two legs will forever be a testimony to me and my family.

“I got admission into UNILAG when I had a Sickle Cell complication- Avascular Necrosis of the hipbone. My doctors said I could never walk on my own until I have hip replacement surgery on both hips. Hence, they moved me from using crutches to using a walking frame.

“Throughout my 100level, I would walk to class and lab practicals with the walking frame, in pain and shame. I can’t even take a cab because the frame was heavy and the cabmen didn’t have the patience to wait for the process of folding it.

“It took a toll on me socially, mentally and physically. Other students would stare at me on the road. Some got close to offering help and even became friends in the long run. Some just stared and walked past.

“It was a struggle. Battling with sickle cell and having to study in Unilag was an extreme sport. The constant stress had a huge effect on my health. It was so bad that I had to change my course of study in my second year to a less stressful one.”

In a chat with The PUNCH, Sanni revealed that she moved from Biochemistry to Cell Biology and Genetics.

“Biochemistry was stressful as the lectures were held at a college in a distant location from my hostel.

“So I changed to the department of Cell Biology and Genetics which was closer. And I graduated from the department,” she told The PUNCH.

Remembering her ordeal during exam periods, Sanni tweeted, “I remember writing my 100 level exams on the hospital bed! Heck, I wrote almost every exam at the hospital. Writing lab reports and doing my assignments there sometimes too. I made up my mind to stop using crutches even if it will take me to limp and feel the pain.

“I am thankful for a few of my friends and most importantly, my mum and sisters, who constantly remind me to take care of myself, take my drugs, drink plenty of water, and avoid stress and cold. People always wondered why I carried big handbags everywhere.

“I am most grateful to Almighty God for seeing me through my degree. It could only be him. In all of these, I graduated from the University of Lagos with a First Class Degree.”


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