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My life in God's hands

Luisa Qiolevu
Saturday, November 11, 2017

DESPITE living with a rheumatic heart disease, Jone Maiwelagi has found the courage to do some development works with youths in his community.

The 25- year-old was first diagnosed with the disease at the age of five.

"I could not recall all the events that took place around that time but what I do know is that I am a blessed man of God," he said.

Mr Maiwelagi hails from the village of Vusasivo, Natewa in Cakaudrove. He has maternal links to Vaturova, Cakaudrove and is the eldest of five siblings.

He is now married with two children.

"I completed my primary education and pulled through until I completed Year 13 with no symptoms of the disease," he said.

"I only had it at the age of five. It was when I had finished my studies from high school in 2011 when it hit me again and I had just turned 19 at the time."

Mr Maiwelagi said he was in Lautoka when the symptoms started again.

"From a throat infection to a heart condition — I lived a healthy lifestyle but I had a very serious heart condition," he said.

"I was very strict about my diet and I am a strong member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Fiji.

"I don't smoke and I don't drink but I am a strong believer in my God."

Mr Maiwelagi said his medical condition required a long-term commitment from getting penicillin injections every 28 days for the next 10 years — but his case was different.

"After a few years of treatment and possibly repeated attacks of rheumatic fever which caused inflammation to my heart, I stayed positive all the way through until the time I was told that my heart condition would get worse," he said.

"This went on for a few years until 2012 when the doctors told me that I won't be able to finish the year 2012, that I won't be able to make it through to 2013."

Mr Maiwelagi said he remained positive after he received that news.

"I returned to the village that year, 2012, but with a different aim altogether.

"I planned to set aside all those heartbreaking news and just live my life to the fullest," he said.

Mr Maiwelagi said after he gained those positive attitudes, he was able to achieve a lot of things that were normally done by other youths his age.

"I got married a few months after coming back from the hospital," he said.

"I now have two children — both girls aged four and three."

Mr Maiwelagi said he had never looked back.

"I remained positive all the way through and I have always made an effort to put God first as head of my family and I believe that with Him, I am still alive today.

"I went past those two years that I have been told that my life was going to end and it's now 2017, I still live on with God and my family by my side," he said.

Mr Maiwelagi is a strong youth member who is committed to working alongside his peers for the development of their community.

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