Chidubem Andrew Okoli
Chidubem (translated as ‘God Guides Me’) and fondly known as Dubem, was born on December 16, 2006, in Dallas, Texas, USA, to Uche Christian Okoli and Lilian Ngozi Okoli (Nee Okafor) from Ojoto, Idemili South LGA, Anambra State, Nigeria. The last of four children, Lotanna (brother), Nkem (sister), Onyinye (sister), he was an answered prayer and dearly loved by all.
Chidubem attended several primary schools across several countries (Nigeria, UK and Ireland), before gaining admission to the prestigious Loyola Jesuit College, Abuja, Nigeria, at the tender age of nine years being one of the youngest students to be admitted in the school during the admission year.
Following his sudden diagnosis with brain cancer, in 2021 and initial surgeries and treatments in Dublin, Ireland, he moved to the USA to complete his high school education with the care and support of family (especially his siblings), while undergoing treatments at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre in New York. He first attended the Loyola school and currently St Anthony’s High school, New York, where he was due to graduate in May 2024 at the age of 17 years.
With emphasis on values, morals and strong academic reputation, which was important to him, given his culture and upbringing, these schools provided a solid foundation on his path to achieving success, allowing him to build long lasting friendships. He was an active member of several social clubs and participated actively in church programs. Trying to rebalance his life after months of inconsistency following initial diagnosis and treatments have been challenging yet endearing. He was able to grow academically, spiritually, creatively and exceed expectations.
One of his long-term goals was to become a robotics engineer, he enjoyed exploring activities and programs such as digital art and learning the intricacies of programming languages. Apart from his vast academic knowledge, he always demonstrated a high sense of humility, maturity, responsibility and complete trust in God. As a result of his generous spirit and pleasant personality, he was loved by many, peers and family alike.
Chidubem departed this life on Sunday, 28th January 2024, following a three-year battle with Glioblastoma Multiforme: an aggressive form of brain cancer which was diagnosed at the tender age of 14, in February 2021. During the period, he underwent 3 surgeries, several radiotherapies, chemotherapy treatments, and countless seizures, with strength and resilience, against all odds and defying initial prognosis. In the last six months of his life, Chidubem spent most of his time in the hospital, braving the end stages of his illness with more strength than anyone could believe possible.
Growing up in a religious household, he was raised with the word of God as his foundation, which served as comfort and hope for him especially on dark days. His faith in God was unwavering and his influence will forever remain in the lives of all who knew him. He was the embodiment of strength, resilience and courage. In the face of adversity, he never complained.
His beautiful but short life will forever be cherished in the lives of his entire family and friends alike. Surely his sad exit has left an irreplaceable vacuum for the entire family, his memory will remain in our hearts, but we take solace in the fact that he has gone to be with our creator. We may have lost a loved one, but the heaven has gained an angel.
He is survived by his father, mother, brother, sisters, grandfather, uncles, aunties and other relatives.
‘You have fought the good fight, you have finished the race, you have kept the faith’
(2 Timothy 4:7)
Uche (Father) – “I wish that I could hold you back.”
Lilian (Mother) – “Dumdum, I write this with the deepest sense of grief and loss. I had hope that your condition would turn around for the better, especially since the Lord had sustained you this far. But who are we to question the LORD? He is sovereign and we submit to His will with pain and heaviness of heart. We rest in the assurance that He loves you more.” I will miss you dear!
Lotanna (brother) – “I prayed for you as a child. I never imagined there would be a life without you. I pray the memories never fade. I want it to be like you’re still here.
Nkem (sister) – “It still does not feel real. Nothing feels real. I lost a brother and a best friend. Who will I watch anime with now? Who will tease me about eating salads? You are forever in my heart Chidubem.”
Onyinye (sister) – “Dubem, I love you beyond words, and the void your absence leaves is immeasurable. Every hour of every day, I’ll miss your laughter and unwavering strength. You fought so hard, and now, my sweetest boy, may you find eternal peace.”