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Edmonton: African communities rally for liver transplant patient

By  | 8 August 2019 at 22:18 | 1177 views

Theodore Musa Kowai (seen in photo with his children) has undergone two more surgeries since his liver transplant about seven years ago.

In the coming months, he may have yet another surgery - the fourth - to set the liver properly. Fondly called Teddy, the 40-year-old has been through so much. Now he wants to start a charity to help people with liver ailments. The goal is to promote awareness about liver disorders and network on behalf of patients who need transplants or have undergone the procedure.

“Somebody had to die, for me to get another liver,” Teddy reflects. “My fellow patients are suffering and some have since died,” he adds pensively. “It is even tougher for people in Africa. Inspired, Teddy organized a fund-raising dinner and dance at Londonderry Hall in Edmonton; on Saturday August 3, 2019.

The campaign had a $50,000 target. By midnight that Saturday, over $30,000 had been raised. Funds came in various ways. Seats at the high table, sold for over $100 apiece. Although the main course of dinner was free, ‘Peppeh Soup’ was for sale. Proceeds from the spicy dessert, went to Teddy’s fund. Entrance ticket were priced at $30 per person. Also, some donors brought money while others openly pledged to contribute.

The turnout was astounding and the emotions heartwarming. Daniel Juwley and Theresa Goba were MCs, while Martha Sellu anchored the public pledging. Guests showed their support all night long. There were touching tributes and hugs and embraces for Teddy; as the cheques and currency flowed. The dance group Girlz Got Moves put up a superb performance. Support came from diverse groups within the various African community associations here. Notable among them was Teddy’s church, Solid Rock International Ministries. The church’s senior pastor Reverend Glory Blamo took the floor, giving a spirited testimony, as he affirmed the support of his clergy and congregation.

Africans at the fundraiser

Through it all, Teddy sat at the high table. Flanking him were special guests Jennet Yorpoi, Mahmood Dumbuya, Fizzo Soton, Kadiatu Tity Kamara, and Fatmata Kamara. Teddy is fondly called a ‘Mano-River’ gentleman. This is due to his background. He was born in Liberia and grew up in Sierra Leone. The title quickly caught on that Saturday evening; as Teddy is popular and highly respected in both communities. The river Mano is a landmark in Liberia and Sierra Leone. The regional organization Mano River Union (MRU) - comprising Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone - is even named after it.

Kowai manning the ballot box during the Sierra Leone Alberta Association elections in October last year

Dr. Abu Conteh and Thomas Bumbeh, respective leaders of the Sierra Leonean and Liberian communities, made speeches that underscored Teddy’s dual status. There were representatives from The Gambia, Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroun, and other African communities as well. They all registered their support.

Teddy gave the vote of thanks to wrap up formalities. He laughed over the Mano-River moniker as he acknowledged his strong bonds with Liberians and Sierra Leoneans. Teddy is a reputable auto mechanic who loves soccer. He is a single dad; raising three children. Janel, 11, is the oldest. Kaine is ten years old, while little Olivia is only two.

Teddy’s saw his doctor a few weeks back, in July. His next appointment is in October this year.