- Greg Simon had a high body temperature when he was a little kid growing up in Zonkwa, Kaduna state
- He was rushed to the hospital where he was given the wrong medicine without proper checks; his case worsened
- Greg would later be crippled before it was discovered on further medical checks that he had polio, but it was too late
- Now a graduate, he has refused to give up on life even after being abandoned by his dad who refused to send him to school
As a kid growing up in Zonkwa, Kaduna state, Greg Simon never imagined that one day, he would be unable to walk with his two feet. He never imagined that he would be in a wheelchair for the rest of his adult life. But that is his current reality.
Simon was not born disabled, as all parts of his body were in good condition at birth. Even his parents never expected that the life of their son would take this turn.
How Simon got paralysed and landed on the wheelchair
But it just happened that one day, Simon had a slight body temperature and was rushed to the hospital for treatment. Without proper checks, Simon was given the wrong injection which instantly worsened his health condition.
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Before anyone could realise what was happening to the five-year-old, he was already paralysed. He had polio and no one knew about it until it was too late.
He has beaten the odds to grow into a handsome young man. Simon who just graduated from university told his story to Legit.ng:
"I was given the wrong injection at age five. I had a slide body temperature, and was taken to the hospital. After an injection given to me, my legs got paraly!zed. After a year I was taken to Dala Hospital for therapy and was diagnosed and confirmed I had Polio."
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Life became tough and unbearable for Simon
Life immediately became unbearable for Simon. It is not every parent that has the patience to look after disabled kids. Some would just abandon them as Simon's dad did. The case was so bad that Simon attempted to take his own life thrice. Growing up henceforth was tough and became tougher after losing his mother two years after being confined to the wheelchair.
"Not easy especially as I grew from the north. I attempted suicide three times but God saved me. Then even parents don't want me to associate with their kids for fear of becoming disabled. Most people told my siblings that I can't go far in life but grace saved me."
The mantle of care that initially fell on Simon's mother immediately collapsed when she sadly passed on. He said from the age of eight to nineteen, he was just existing. Her sister became his saving grace as she had to marry early to be able to look after him and his other siblings.
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Simon told of his sad past:
"From 8 years to 19 years, I was just living with the hope that I will die without a name coupled with the fact that I lost my mom when I was just 8 years. That's two years after being confined in the wheelchair.
How Simon became educated
Education was almost off-limits for Simon as life took an ugly turn after he was disabled. His father pointedly told whoever cared to listen that he wouldn't waste money on him. His elder sister took over the responsibility for his early childhood education.
"Well! My father abandoned me when I got disabled. So our firstborn had to marry in time to be able to take care of us. So my father was just like a dead man alive to me. His words were '"he can't waste money on a child without legs." Yes after her death my elder sister took over."
Simon's journey to higher education
But it does seem that Simon took his destiny in his own hands as he continued to grow older. He refused to give up. He has since taken up higher education. Simon has a National Diploma which he bagged from Abubakar Tatari Ali Polytechnic Bauchi state.
Not only that, Simon is now a degree holder from the Lead City University, Ibadan. He narrated his higher education journey to Legit.ng:
"A beautiful journey with great memories for my future kids and an inspiration to everyone. In 2019 I processed for my admission without a dime. After getting the admission, I posted it on my Facebook. Lots of people donated from 500 to 1k and above.
"That was how I raised over 800k for my first year. Same thing second year and final year. Yet I knew it was a private university but because of accessibility, I opted for a private university to ease stress for me.
"Yeah from year one to my final year. My feeding, accommodation tansportation and hand out are sponsored from friends on social media."
What Simon plans to do with his life now that he is a graduate
Haven successfully finished school against all odds, Legit.ng asked Simon what he wanted to do with his life. The graduate of Performing Arts and Film Studies said:
"I want to produce films that will showcase disability as a blessing not a curse as mostly portrayed in Nollywood. That's my dream: To be the baddest director sitting on the wheelchair giving roles to people with legs, lols."
Simon wants to meet Don Jazzy, Williams Uchemba and Obi Cubana
One of the goals Simon has set for himself is to meet three personalities whom he believes could positively affect his dream career. He spoke about them:
"The only thing I want to say is I want to meet three people in this life. I have goals written, ideas I want to unleash not just for myself but for millions with disability without a voice.
"They are: Actor Williams Uchemba, Don Jazzy and Obi Cubana. Believe me if I meet these persons I think I will wheel my wheelchair from Ibadan to Lagos in thanksgiving."
Disabled brothers get help to complete their house after twelve years
In a related story, Legit.ng reported that two brothers who are disabled got help to finish their house.
It took them twelve years of relentless struggle before they were able to complete work on the house with the help of an NGO.
Social media users could not get enough of the house when the video was shared online.