“I wasn’t born this way” – Amputee Nollywood actress, Doris Akonanya
A Nigerian actress, Doris Akonanya, who recently celebrated her birthday with a bold photo showing off her stump, has shared her story on her Instagram page.
At the age of 13, Doris was hit and knocked down by a commercial motorcyclist in Bayelsa State. As a result of her severe injuries, she had her leg amputated.
The Theatre Arts graduate of the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, also spoke about her journey in the movie industry, challenges and how a chance meeting with an actor and producer changed her career.
I grew up in Bayelsa state and I wasn’t born with disability.
At age 13, I got knocked down by a motorcyclist while trying to cross the road. The accident led to the amputation of my right leg, and that moment changed the way I started seeing life. I didn’t take life seriously because I thought I was useless to my family and to the world, but my parents didn’t see me that way especially my mum. I never took my education seriously because I had no sense of belonging to the environment.
My mum was very supportive, she taught me how to fight for what I want and not to give up and that has helped me a lot in my career so the word ‘impossibility’ is not in my dictionary’.
I started accepting and appreciating God for my life when I found out about Nicholas James Vujicic, the motivational speaker without legs and arms. His videos were the inspiration that got me back on my foot, that was when I started fighting for what I wanted but the challenges were serious. I got an admission to study theatre arts at Nnamdi Azikiwe University, So many people discouraged me from studying the course, most of my course mates were like ‘what is she doing in this department’, wasn’t she aware of what this course is all about, can she dance or act with this her one leg?’ I usually felt bad but constantly encouraged myself because I knew want I wanted and I was ready to fight for it. I learnt how to dance on my own, in my room. Today I can act and dance with or without my support aid.
But the challenges continues.
I got into the movie industry 3 years ago through PRINCE OWELLE UGORJI who is an actor and also a movie producer. I met him on facebook and told him my passion for acting and dancing. He was touched by my story and promised to help me achieve my dreams. Few years later, he chatted me up and sent me a script. I was so happy that day, I went through the script and he gave me the lead role in the movie called Susanna. The movie Susanna brought us closer, he took me like a sister and promised to make my dreams come true. He didn’t ask for money or sex from me unlike one producer who only wants.
I’m not married yet. People always ask why I chose “Dorisstillsmiling” as my Instagram handle, I just can’t stop smiling and being happy, I love myself so much. Loosing one of my legs is destiny, the plan God has for me is bigger than my imagination, God has been using me to encourage so many people not to give up, no matter the condition, I might not be where I wish to be but I’m heading somewhere. The world is going to celebrate me someday, that I am sure of, as a society I don’t think we are doing enough to help people like myself. I hate that word ‘disabled’, we are not disabled we are just ‘differently abled.’ We have abilities and the society should see us this way not picturing us beggars.
For people thinking they are disabled, sweeties; here is the word for you “differently Abled”. We are special people, we do things differently that only makes us special, you can achieve your dreams if only you believe in yourself and don’t give up, don’t be discouraged, don’t stop fighting, fight for what you want, love yourself first before others can love you, don’t look down on yourself. I know it’s not easy but don’t forget life itself is not easy, good things comes to people that don’t give up, from today tell your friends and family that ‘Dorisstillsmiling’ said you are not disabled but differently abled. God loves you!”
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