My name is Emelike Agomo and I met my best friend in boarding school in Africa in 1979. I was 14 years old when Chyke Okoronkwo came in as a transfer student to Federal Government College Okigwe. He fit right in with my other mates. He was solid in sports, particularly soccer, and he soon earned the nickname “Amalinze the Cat” (from our favorite book Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe) because he was so versatile, so fast.
We later found out our villages were separated by a road and our parents were friends. We became fast friends and graduated in 1982, the pioneer class of FGC Okigwe. We went off to different colleges but stayed in touch.
When I came back the US in 1994 he was the first of my old friends to find out and he promptly came knocking on my door, greeting me with, “Welcome to America.” I attended his wedding and my mother helped care for his children. Through school and careers our friendship remained strong.
Chyke seemingly beat cancer more than 10 years ago but now his Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumor is back with a vengeance. About two months ago it was discovered and Chyke’s health has been failing since. He continues to try and work but the pain is often too much. He tried going on disability but it didn’t pay the bills so he tries to work. His loving wife and four children help as they can but the financial situation is dire and overwhelming. They need help.
The cost of treatment is astronomical even with decent insurance and with each passing month they fall farther behind. There are medical bills, rent, and all the expenses of daily life and what it takes to raise teenagers.
Chyke has always been there to lend a hand to me and anyone else in need. Friends relocating from around the world to the US always reach out to Chyke first, because they know they can count on him. He was always the life and laughter of any get together. His Irrepressible smile and sense of humor always take over the conversation whether discussing the good old days of high school, politics, or the trials of family life.
Chyke is my brother, my best and oldest friend of 35 years. What I am asking for is support for my friend and his family. Help for them to be able to stay on their feet, in their home, and in their community. They have worked so hard to make it this far. Chyke helped me and many others adjust to our new lives in America. Now, he needs our help.
Thank you for all donations. We will keep you updated on his health and well-being as the situation progresses.
Much love and many blessings to you all.
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