MEET SHIRLEY NKECHINYERE HILLS: FROM SICKLE CELL VICTIM,TO GLOBAL AWARENESS AGENT
“Charity sees the need, not the cause”
A Special Cerutti Media (charity Unit report)
Still basking in the euphoria of an absolutely successful outing in marking a success the global day of Sickle Cell Disorder and subsequently promoting a new initiative to create awareness and advocate for the prevention of the Sickle Cell Disorder in Africa called the "RedBlood Crescents Afrique" initiative, Ms Shirley Nkechinyere Hills, founder: SHIRLEY HILLS FOUNDATION and force behind the RedBlood Crescents Initiative on Sickle Cell prevention, has finally opened up as regarding what motivated this noble move
In a most exclusive audience CERUTTI MEDIA /WORLD INDUSTRY LEADERS TEAM after the successful outing of the global day of Sickle Cell Disorder, last Saturday, Ms Hills confessed : ‘’It may sound strange, but for God I will not be here as I myself was once a victim of the deadly disease. And being a victim, and now, a survivor, who encountered a near-death experience at age 17, I'm quite passionate about using my story to reach out to sufferers and inform the public on the possibilities of preventing this disorder in unborn babies.
‘People need to know and understand the severity of this disorder. As a matter of fact, more individuals and organizations are welcome to join the movement in breaking the sickle cell cycle. The existing NGO's cannot do it alone. The cause to prevent, manage & control SCD in Africa and the World at large is a shared responsibility and we need a collective effort to achieve this goal. More and more people die from SCD on a daily basis! Hence, the emergence of the RedBlood Crescents Afrique initiative of the Shirley Hills Foundation to champion its course by preaching prevention’’.
She did no only commented on what motivated her into this noble fight, she was asked her views on the plight of Africans in fight to save sickle Cell disorder, her frank view was worth noting.
In her words:” As you may know, the world, the black race, and the Africa continent has suffered the more from this disorder world over, with the future of so many great and promising children and individuals jeopardized as result of avoidable actions. Being an incurable but preventable disease, it is high time we joined our hands ever more strongly to break the sickle cell cycle, and this is why the SHIRLEY HILLS FOUNDATION last Saturday took the bold step in launching the "RedBlood Crescents Afrique" initiative to mark the World Sickle Cell Day 2015.
‘’The initiative is set up to promote awareness & advocacy for the prevention, management and control of the Sickle Cell Disorder (SCD) in Africa, and provide support and succor to carriers of the trait and sufferers of the SCD, through counseling, treatments, awareness outreaches, and research’’.
On how who Rare diseases, like sickle-cell disease (SCD), often don't get the attention they deserve. She agreed on that stressing that it is most pathetic to find that Statistic has shown that 95 percent of rare diseases don’t have a single FDA-approved drug treatment — there are only 400 treatments approved to treat some 7,000 rare diseases believed to be affecting people today. It's clearly enough to say that with more awareness and education, this cause can get the much-needed attention it deserves.
‘Hence our endless appeal to the general public, that they get informed; know your genotype before marriage, and join us to break the sickle cell cycle. This is an inherited genetic disorder. And sufferers have their parents to blame for this! The way to go is KNOW YOUR GENOTYPE ON TIME! (Before marriage or sexual intercourse). Love is not only reason for a relationship or marriage!!! Be adequately informed’’.
But amidst the danger in front, she has a word of hope to the victim and she alerted them that: ‘To the sufferers of SCD, Sickle Cell Disorder is not a death sentence! My signature campaign message this year is "#FromPainToPurpose!" Kick out the pain and achieve your life's purpose. You can become who you want to become, and can achieve what you want to achieve! Let my story inspire you today.
ON a parting note, she made a passionate appeal by urging the Government and philanthropists at large to support us in the effort to prevent, manage & control SCD in Nigeria, Africa, and the world at large. Also, knowing your role as the watchdog of our society, we rely on you the media, and other Media organizations across the world to help pass on this message to the entire world and join our unwavering commitment to break the SCD cycle and make the world a healthier place’’
PERSONAL PROFILE OF Ms. SHIRLEY NKECHINYERE HILLS
Shirley Nkechinyere Hills is a young Economist, Strategist, and Serial Entrepreneur with an especially broad initiative and creative mind - painstakingly building and developing successful and sustainable business concepts in Nigeria for about a decade now.
Before embracing her full-time entrepreneurial career, Shirley served in the labor market as an employee, firstly in the Hospitality industry as the pioneer General Coordinator of a 3-star hotel, Orange Resort, in Calabar; Secondly in the Construction and Real Estate industries as Executive Assistant to the CEO, Space Design Consultants (an Architectural Consulting Company), and Marketing Executive at NAGHA Properties Ltd. respectively, and both in Abuja. Thirdly, she doubled as a Brand Executive and Event Planner for one of Nigeria’s foremost luxury companies – ZAKAA Luxury Concepts of the Hole-19 Luxury Group – a golf and luxury promotion company in the Luxury and Lifestyle industry – managing several luxury brands under the company’s franchise merchandise such as; ParmigianiFleurier, Edox, PatekPhillipe, AudemarsPiguet, Franc Vila, Montegrappa, Davidoff, Callaway, Foot Joy, Brioni, Porsche, to mention only a few.
Prior to these experiences, in 2005 Shirley founded and operated her first set of business endeavours – “Shirley’s Helping Hands” and “Shirley Hills Entertainment” – a small and unrefined personal assistance & errand running service, and events & entertainment services companies while as an undergraduate at Covenant University at the time. Upon leaving Hole-19/ZAKAA group in 2012, she returned to her business of running errands for clients and simplifying lifestyles for busy executives, parents, etc. in Sunshine Concierge Services – a company she established in 2008. These experiences taken as a whole, provides Shirley with a wealth of practical knowledge and hands-on experience to develop her latest lifestyle brand – Crustos Lifestyle Ltd. – a prestigious and high profile concierge and lifestyle company, serving a very discerning clientele in Nigeria and beyond.
In 2012, recognized for her sterling presentations at events, Shirley evolved as the ‘Quintessential Woman’, emerging as a Signature Event Host; an endeavor she added to her repertoire out of her passion for excellence in organizing and hosting elegant events. She has since then, featured in several unique corporate and social events as the Quintessential Mistress of Ceremonies.
In 2014, her new company Crustos Lifestyle Ltd. was recognized and privileged to participate in the 1st edition of the Exxon Mobil-WEConnect International workshop for women-owned businesses in Nigeria transacting business with Multinationals, with Shirley adeptly representing the ‘Team Excellence’ group at the workshop. By 2015, she was recognized by Corporate Nigeria with an Excellence Award Certificate in providing exceptional services in the Consumer Services industry, and her name and business listed among the top 3% in the 2015 directory of Nigerian Top Executives in the Consumer Goods and Services/ (Concierge Services) Industry – a meritorious accolade.
Also, Shirley Hills was accorded the “Enterprise Award” from the very prestigious Emerging African Leaders Conference and Integrity Awards-2015, under the EAL Academy, a global African project recognizing young Africans who are adding significant value to their society through their respective individual endeavours.
As a humanitarian, who understands the importance of collective societal impact and the value of giving back, Shirley has partnered on different levels with several N.G.Os to add value to her community. Her involvements over time are recorded in her affiliations such as;
- Origin-Unite; a UNICEF-styled organization that caters to hungry and malnourished children in Africa.
- Awesome Treasures Foundation; a non-governmental Christian organization positively touching the lives of women and youth across Africa, with a focus on providing them with the platform to discover their God-given purpose on earth and to impact their world.
- YRAC Nigeria; a Youth Reformation and Coaching organization focusing on redeeming proper moral values and social etiquettes within Nigerian youths.
- African Child Diaspora Foundation.
- Nigeria Arise Group; an organization that focuses in developing Nigerian youths for nation-building.
- Women Who Win Initiative; an initiative set up as a platform for women helping women.
- GLAMODI Nigeria (Glamorous Mothers Development Initiative); an N.G.O that caters to helping mothers and the girl child in developing their homes and society.
Today, being a survivor of the chronic Sickle Cell Disorder (SCD), Shirley is haslaunched her foundation; the “SHIRLEY HILLS FOUNDATION” for Sickle Cell – with an initiative called; ‘RedBlood Crescents Afrique’, which is committed to promote the awareness and advocacy of the SCD in Africa, and provide support and succor to carriers of the trait and sufferers of the disease, through counseling, awareness outreaches, treatments, and research.
Also, being a creative and innovative individual with a passion for women’s development and empowerment in all walks of life, Shirley believes that an investment in women within any given society provides endless opportunities and generational rewards. As such, she has just established, and is soon to launch the ‘ELITE Women Network International’ – E.L.I.T.E being an acronym for Excellence, Leadership, Integrity, Tenacity, and Esteem – a select community of women pioneers and professionals in business, career, and social & community service that will collectively connect, engage, and champion positively robust change, growth, and development in Africa and beyond.
Shirley is indeed a young dynamic and versatile Nigerian female professional and problem solver with a good understanding of the Nigerian consumer service business environment, she holds a BSc in Economics from the University of Calabar, Cross River State, and is an Associate Fellow of the prestigious Institute of Strategic Management, Nigeria (ISMN). She hails from the ‘Ugwu’ family in Ameke-Ngwo town of Udi Local Government Area in Enugu State, and has traveled across Africa and the Middle East.
Not letting her health challenge deter her from achieving her goals and aspirations, Shirley Hills keeps developing herself, advancing in her endeavours, and adding value within her sphere of influence. She loves karting, playing tennis, chess, and golf, and is an ardent researcher, as well as a coffee and fine wine enthusiast. Shirley is committed to mentoring teenagers and young adults in her local church. Her admirable personality is attributed to her strong moral values, spirituality, and family upbringing, and she deeply sees a bright future for her motherland Africa.