Date of release: 11 March 2021
A woman who says she owes her life to the NHS and has written a song called ‘Thank You Britain’ has shared her story as part of World Kidney Day. Vicky Ngamsha, 48, has been living with polycystic kidney disease since she was diagnosed during her first pregnancy in 2002, when she lived in Southampton. The mother of three came to the UK through marriage a year earlier after enduring a difficult life in Cameroon.
Vicky, one of 10 siblings, lost both parents and five of her brothers and sisters to the disease, which can be hereditary, back in Africa. Since her diagnosis, Vicky has continued to lead a full life, with a career as a motivational speaker and a folk, urban and gospel singer, releasing 12 albums. She remained in good health until 2015 when she began to feel tired and weak because her kidney function had fallen. By this time she was living in Bentley, Walsall and was admitted to Walsall Manor Hospital.
For the last three years, Vicky has been supported in her condition by tablets to lower her blood pressure and remove toxins from her body. As she had a Walsall postcode but a Wolverhampton telephone number, she was referred to The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust. She decided to transfer her treatment to New Cross Hospital and is now a regular outpatient on Ward C6.
“I feel like I’ve been treated like a queen,” said Vicky. “From the first time I was treated here, it felt like I was talking to a friend, although there were professional boundaries which were respected. Coming from Africa, when someone says a disease is ‘chronic’, you think about death and end of life, so I was scared, but the nurse I dealt with, called Stacey, was lovely and her team was so friendly. I was made to feel relaxed, at home, respected and very reassured.”
All of this is a far cry from her life in Cameroon, where her struggles inspired her to write a book, called ‘From Very Humble Beginnings – The Struggles of a Poor African Girl’. “When you see pictures on TV about children in Africa, it was like that,” recalled Vicky. “I didn’t have the means to go to school and my mum, Rose Verla, kept losing her children as the healthcare system there is not free to use like it is here. It is a miracle I am here and I owe my life to the NHS and Britain. That’s why I have written a song, called ‘Thank You Britain’, to show my appreciation and to celebrate the good this country has done through its healthcare system.”