11-year-old Ekua Bafowah Asumang (2nd from left) leading the team on the exercise
11-year-old Ekua Bafowah Asumang (2nd from left) leading the team on the exercise
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11-year-old girl creates sickle cell awareness with Tamale-Accra ride

Eleven-year-old Ekua Bafowah Asumang has started a 751-kilometre bicycle ride from Tamale to Accra in a bid to create awareness of sickle cell, a disease she survived after birth. 

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The exercise, which started on Monday, June 10, 2024, is also to commemorate this year’s World Sickle Cell Day which falls on June 19, and to raise funds to support children living with the disease. It also aims to sensitise the public to the condition.

This will be Asumang’s second ride after the first from Cape Coast in the Central Region to Mepe in the Volta Region over a six-day period in December last year. During that period, she donated relief items to some victims affected by the Akosombo Dam spillage.

The survivor, who is a Basic Six pupil of Pere Planque Basic School in Cape Coast, is undertaking the exercise with a team of seven children and adults. They are expected to end the ride at the Ghana Institute of Clinical Genetics (Adult Sickle Cell Clinic) of the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital in the Greater Accra Region on Wednesday, June 19, 2024.

She arrived in Tamale last Saturday from Cape Coast and the following day, she met with the regional commanders of the Ghana Police Service and the Ghana National Fire Service.  

The first day of the cycling started last Monday through Buipe to Yapei, Kabil and Bui. On the Buipe-Kintampo stretch of the journey last Tuesday, Ekua Bafowah touched base with the people of Kolawurpe, Kpagto, Ampeda, Dawadawa, Chiranda, Aduakra before settling over in Kintampo.

Last Wednesday, the Basic Six pupil and her team slept over in the Bono East regional capital, Techiman, from Kintampo, going through communities such as Nante, Jema, Pamdu, Maaso and Tuobodom.

Yesterday, Ekua Bafowah rode from Techiman through Agosa, Nsuta, Boku and Nhyiaem before arriving in the Bono regional capital, Sunyani. Today, she will ride from Techiman, rest at Mankranso, and move to Konongo tomorrow where she will rest on Sunday.

Ekua Bafowah will continue the ride on Monday from Konongo to Nkawkaw and move from there on Tuesday to the Eastern regional capital, Koforidua. She will continue from there on Wednesday to join the Ghana Institute of Clinical Genetics (Sickle Cell Clinic) to commemorate World Sickle Cell Day. 

Sickle Cell

Sickle Cell is a disorder of the human cell that inflicts various health complications on the patient which can only be managed.

The World Sickle Cell Day, marked on June 19, is an opportunity for UN Member states to create public awareness of the disorder, the cause, socio-economic burden on the patient, family and larger society, among others.

Interview

In an interview with the Daily Graphic last Wednesday, DO1 Vincent Asumang, the father of Efua Asumang, who is cycling with her, explained that at the time Ekua was born,  the family knew very little about sickle cell.

“Before I got to know she had sickle cell, I had spent a lot of money. So I don’t want any Ghanaian to go through what I went through”.  Following her survival, Mr Asumang said, the family decided to establish a Sickle Cell Foundation in her name.

Dubbed “Ekua Bafowah Sickle Cell Foundation”, he said the foundation sought to use sports, particularly cycling, to create awareness and educate people on the disease. DO1 Asumang, who is the President of the Foundation, said the journey so far had been easy for the 11-year-old Sickle Cell ambassador.

He said since Monday, they had made several stops at various markets to create awareness of the disease. 

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