UP graduate overcomes sickle cell complications to achieve medical dream

Posted on May 09, 2024

Amid the celebratory atmosphere during the University of Pretoria’s (UP) autumn graduation season, one graduate’s remarkable story stands out as a testament to resilience and determination. Samuel Imevbore (25), the recipient of a Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery (MBChB) degree, had an unconventional path to success, having been diagnosed with sickle cell anaemia at the age of 14, and surviving its many complications since then.

“I’m immensely relieved to be graduating alongside my peers,” Imevbore said. “There were moments when I doubted whether I’d reach this milestone, but here I stand. Navigating the rigorous demands of medical studies while managing my health condition posed significant challenges. It was far from easy, but I was determined to persevere, no matter the obstacles in my path.”

Hailing from Nelspruit in Mpumalanga and raised in Kempton Park, Gauteng, Imevbore’s aspiration to become a doctor was met with daunting obstacles. There were numerous hospital visits to better control his condition, being diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy in 2019 and being admitted to hospital for pulmonary emboli in 2021.

Throughout his medical studies, Imevbore’s resolve was put to the test. Chronic illness often left him grappling with severe fatigue and pain, yet he remained steadfast in his commitment to his education.

“The option to pace myself was never there, because [studying] medicine always required more of me than I could comfortably give,” Imevbore said. “It created most of my academic stress in my earlier years, and I started finding my stride only once I had prioritised a healthy work-life balance.”

He adds that experiencing the patient’s journey first-hand has made him a more empathetic and understanding doctor.

“My struggles have equipped me with a unique perspective that I can now use to better serve my patients.”

Imevbore says he owes his family and friends a debt of gratitude.

“Their unwavering support has been my rock during the toughest of times. I’ve also been supported by people everywhere I go. This includes people at church, in the choir, at work, the gym, my residence Ukuthula, in my rotation group and so many more. Their encouragement and guidance played a pivotal role in shaping my journey and instilling in me the belief that I could overcome any obstacle.”

Looking ahead, Imevbore is eager to embark on the next chapter of his career with a sense of purpose and determination. He wants to make a meaningful difference in the lives of others.

“My journey has prepared me to face whatever challenges lie ahead, with resilience and compassion.”

Not only has Imevbore achieved his dream of becoming a doctor, but he has also inspired countless others to overcome their own obstacles and pursue their aspirations with unwavering resolve.

Copyright © University of Pretoria 2024. All rights reserved.

FAQ's Email Us Virtual Campus Share Cookie Preferences