A testament to the power of the human spirit, Stanley Nwachuku has come back from a near death experience in his native Nigeria, and is thriving in college today. This photo was taken at a recent candlelight dinner at St. Ignatius Retreat House at which Stanley played the piano continuously, and by ear, for 25 minutes. Note that despite his many surgeries, the severe effect of the acid attack is still very noticeable.
In the June 12 issue of the Port News, we wrote a story about Stanley Nwachuku. Stanley had told his story to U.S. officials in a 15-page affidavit asking for political asylum that was eventually granted, and he became an American citizen in January 2008 at age 28.
Originally from Nigeria, Stanley was helped by Hofstra University Law School Political Asylum Clinic to gain political asylum. Three years ago he was attacked for criticizing cults at the university that he attended and left for dead. Sulfuric acid was poured down his throat and over his body. He was beaten and one ear cut off. Hospitalized for nine months, he eventually came to the United States for more medical treatment.
Several residents from Port Washington and its surrounding areas came to the aid of Stanley and established a fund, in addition to providing practical assistance for his daily activities (i.e. rides to places, etc.)
The gentleman who is spearheading the efforts on Stanley's behalf, Richard Grafer, recently updated us on Stanley's amazing progress:
He has completed several more surgeries and has another two or three scheduled for the spring.
He has become a "Permanent Resident" of the U.S. (in February 2009).
He has been accepted at Nassau Community College and began taking a full schedule of courses there in January 2009. He commutes back and forth from St. Ignatius via the Long Island Bus, making two transfers along the way. With the help of the Program for Survivors of Torture, he applied for and was granted federal aid to pay for most of his tuition.
When he's not attending classes at Nassau Community College, he attends the Vocational Education Program run by Family and Children's Association in Hempstead to strengthen his knowledge in certain areas and better prepare him for the workplace.
He spoke about his experiences (both horrific and inspiring) at the annual RotaCare dinner/fundraiser and was honored with a plaque. (RotaCare is an all-volunteer medical clinic for the poor and uninsured that has been providing Stanley with all his medications.)
He performed a piano concert at the January 22, 2009 St. Ignatius Retreat House Candlelight Dinner and received a long, standing ovation for his performance. He played completely by ear, without sheet music and without any preparation, for 25 minutes straight.
Several of Stanley's benefactors, Dr. Lauris Wren of Hofstra, Dr. Thomas Davenport of The Long Island Plastic Surgical Group and Kevin Dwyer of North Shore-LIJ Hospital, will be honored at the annual St. Ignatius Golf & Tennis Outing on May 18, 2009 being held at The Sands Point Golf Club and North Hempstead Country Club. Stanley will, of course, be there as well to talk about his journey from near death to a life filled with hope.
Stanley's supporters continue to help him in a variety of ways, as well as financially. To date, a total of $21,015 has been raised to help this courageous young man.
In addition to donations, Stanley has raised $2,500 on his own by composing a CD displaying his piano skills combined with some gospel singing.
For those wishing to help, contact H. Richard Grafer at 365-6572.