I stumbled on a touching story about a Nigerian on ESPN (DSTV Channel 230) recently. It’s a story about Seun Adebiyi who without a doubt is my 2010 Sportsman of the year. After the show I did a little research on him and found this wonderful story.
“I recently learned about Olympic hopeful Seun Adebiyi from a segment of ESPN’s “E: 60.” For this fanatic, his story was extremely moving. It has stayed with me.
In his adopted country, Nigerian-born Seun Adebiyi blossomed as a gifted athlete, becoming one of the top swimmers in the U.S. In 2000, while training for the Olympic Time Trials, he fractured his back and was unable to compete for a spot on the Nigerian Olympic Team. Seun lost many valuable college scholarships. He took a hiatus from swimming, but while in college, he returned to the water and began swimming for his university.
In 2003 Seun reached the finals of the All-Africa Games, where the Olympic Time Trials were being held for the 2004 Olympics. He narrowly missed the team by .12 seconds.
Seun decided to leave swimming behind and focus on a life outside of sports. He attended the prestigious Yale University Law School, but still had the yearning to be an Olympian. He decided on a new approach: the Winter Olympics. He would try to become Nigeria’s first Winter Olympian and chose the sport of skeleton.
In the summer of 2009, Seun moved to Salt Lake City to begin an intense training regimen for skeleton. Soon after his arrival, he visited a physician after developing a noticeable lump on his body. The diagnosis: cancer–but not just cancer; rather, two rare and aggressive forms of cancer known as non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and stem-cell leukemia. The prognosis: fairly promising with both chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant. But due to the genetic diversity of Africans and African-Americans, chances of finding a matching marrow donor aren’t the most favorable.
Seun flew to New York where he underwent seven grueling weeks of chemotherapy. He then returned to Utah to continue training for skeleton. For now, his cancer is in remission, but without the marrow transplant, it is extremely unlikely that it will remain so. Adebiyi has done all of this while still pursuing his dream of representing Nigeria in the 2014 Winter Olympics.
Seun isn’t just training to make the Olympics. He’s fighting to stay alive. He is the proverbial eagle that has seen many seasons and floods. His night might seem interminable, yet he faces the darkness with courage, determination, and strategy. I hope with all my heart that he will fulfill his Olympic dreams. But what I especially hope for is a marrow donor match, a successful transplant, and remission. Because what the world needs is more people like Seun Adebiyi.”
Culled from www.olympicfanatic.com
You can view the full ESPN documentary on Seun Adebiyi on YouTube.
Let’s join notable stars like Rihanna and Grey’s Anatomy actor Justin Chambers in finding a bone marrow donor for Seun. Here is a video from dkmsamericas with Seun.