A mother’s love triumphs over all. This common statement has entered every ear, and while it may sound like a cliche at times, it always turns out to reveal beautiful situations that one would never think about.
This mother, on the other hand, dropped everything to save her son. This is how it began. Abraham Adewole Adedire had won a scholarship to study in the United States of America in 1958, adding his name to the one-hand count of University graduates in his hometown of Île-Ife, Nigeria.
Because of Abraham’s victory, he had become an overnight celebrity in his community, and everyone found a way to become related to the Adedire family. It was a dream come true for Abraham, who hoped to be a scientist. His brilliance had carried him through the years; his mind’s star had shone brightly throughout his childhood. It was thus not surprising when he was eventually awarded a scholarship by the Nigerian government to study chemistry in the United States.
He was accepted to Michigan State University and said goodbye to his mother, Asabi Adedire, his father, his entire family, and his community on the day of his departure.
Abraham immersed himself in his studies at Michigan State University. He did not stop there; he participated in numerous extracurricular activities both on and off campus, which led to his election as President of the University’s International Club. By 1961, he had earned a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from the university.
By the end of his degree, Abraham had met Margaret Ovis, a white lady from Michigan who would later become his wife. While Abraham’s color was an issue at first, Margaret’s father eventually caved and they married as an interracial couple. Abraham’s family was unconcerned. Abraham and Margaret welcomed their second daughter, Adetayo, in 1963. Their first child, Aderonke, was born months after their wedding.
The light shone brightly in this home, but it was short-lived when Abraham was diagnosed with irreversible and progressive kidney failure and given only six months to live. Both kidneys had been damaged, not just one.
This was a slap in the face given that the young man had just recently begun a family and his children were still quite little. Doctors declared that the chances were stacked against him, but all hope was not lost. Abraham planned to battle for his family.
His wife, who was aware of the kidney transplant procedure, wondered if it could be performed on her husband. Abraham was eventually referred to the University of Michigan Hospital, where specialists announced some good news: instead of six months, he could live for five years with the best possible care. His symptoms subsided after doctors prescribed medications and put him on a special diet.
Abraham had already written to the Nigerian government to inform them of his medical problems. After urging him to discontinue his doctoral studies, the government supplied tickets for him and his family to return to Nigeria. Margaret was not having it. But they had to leave eventually. There was another issue with his kidneys in Nigeria. He’d had a relapse. Returning to the United States appeared difficult, so Margaret took charge once more; a telegram was sent to the United States, and they were finally brought to the United States, except they had to return to Nigeria after two months, as the Nigerian government had directed.
His condition had deteriorated in the United States, and there was only one option: a kidney transplant. But who would give up a kidney? Do you remember Asabi Adedire? After Abraham’s father, sisters, and brother were tested and found to be unsuitable, his mother was his final hope.
Asabi Adedire did not pause. She was tested, and to everyone’s relief, she passed. She was rushing to give one of her kidneys to her son in order to save his life. Her only concern was whether or not her son would live. It didn’t matter if she did or not. Her son’s survival was critical.
She traveled overseas with her wrapper wrapped around her. Individuals, organizations, churches, schools, and students all contributed to her flight’s cost. And, just like in the delivery room, she went under the knife and repurchased the life of her son, Abraham, without fear or terror. Asabi Adedire became a motherhood icon. She gave her son a second opportunity at living a healthy life.
So, like at the start of his life, she pushed, cried, screamed in agony, and later smiled after he came out, and in rebirth, she lay, numb, and later awoke to pain, but the smile was still visible, and she had given life again.
Abraham was readmitted to the hospital five months following his successful journey. On July 13, 1965, he died. “What was shocking about his death, however, was that the doctors confirmed that it was not related to his transplanted kidney, which was functioning perfectly well until he died,” historian Onigegewura wrote.
According to his family’s wishes, Abraham was buried at Michigan State University’s medical center.