Sunday, 3rd May, 2020, ikorodu, Nigeria
Underprivileged children, randomly-selected, were invited out of their lockdown cocoons at home to participate in an hour of sporting activities at Pashoku, Aga. It was part of an accustomed but rarely-reported effort of Richard Coker Foundation (RCF) to bring a smile to the face of African children.
Before the early morning exercise, the children were debriefed about the importance of social distancing in the global effort to conquer the Coronavirus pandemic. As if they did not know! Indeed, in theory at least, the children, the youngest of whom were ten years old, were well-informed about COVID-19, the same as kept their schools closed so many weeks now and for the foreseeable future.
All raring to go, the children were grouped in fives, with an adult in tow, to assert distancing and safety. Early-risers, of which there were not many at the time, watched from their verandah. Had it been a normal Sunday, the neighborhood would have been the exclusive territory of the Redeemed Church, whose members and clergy the same invisible virus kept locked up at home.
At the end of the exercise, grandiose tag of PURE WATER MARATHON, Tosin Adumati, whose company, Clefy Event Management, did the video and photography, enjoined the youngsters to keep observing the tenets of hygiene and distancing to free this generation from the coronavirus pestilence. The children went home with cash prizes and bottled nourishment.
For 16 years, RCF has been in the vanguard of providing support for sickle cell awareness as well as assisting underprivileged children in Africa. It’s #1 aim is to see sickle cell eradicated, one way or another. The organization is named after Mr. Richard ‘Lion-Heart’ Coker who lived with SCD and passed on in 2004.
Chief Mrs. Julie Coker, Richard’s mum who sponsored the event, stated it was a ‘personal effort to do something for the children’ in these hard times.
Addressing the participants, Mr. Ayoola Olajide, editor, Sickle Cell News, emphasised the imperative of genotype awareness – and the implications thereof – for the very young. Olajide stated that the Richard Coker Foundation was putting in its best efforts to keep sickle cell discussions on the front burner across its domains of influence.
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