Family Fun
Family full of doctors break the internet with “White coat family” photo
The Nigerian family all followed in their parents footsteps.
D.G. Sciortino
06.11.21

For the Okpaleke, healing sick humans is a family affair.

Dr. Chinyere Okpaleke and her six siblings are all doctors.

Thesiblings went viral when they posted a picture of themselves in white coats on Linkedin for National Sibling Day. The seventh sibling isn’t shown in this photo.

“I know our parents and ancestors are beyond proud! We are exactly what their sacrifices were meant for! All glory to God,” the post read.

The Okapaleke family went viral a second time when they revealed that their parents are also doctors, or “white coats.”

The photo of the proud family also showcased an empowering message.

“This is my family. We are Nigerian. We represent resilience, strength, and grit. We are a culture that breeds success. We are on the frontlines of health and racial pandemics and injustices. We are powerful. When united, we cannot be stopped. We are human beings that deserve to live! And our lives DO matter. The revolution has just begun!” the post reads.

“Our people have suffered enough! This is the beginning of an outcry for change that is well overdue! I stand with my people in Nigeria and proud to represent the Nigerian diaspora. We may be the ‘White Coat Family’ but we represent so much more.”

Andrew Okpaleke, is a retired internal medicine physician, and mother, and his wife Celina Okpaleke, is a physician assistant who still practices doing in-home healthcare, immigrated to the U.S. from Nigeria after the birth of their first child.

They never dreamed that each and every one of their children would follow in their footsteps.

But Chinyere who is known as “Dr. Chi” by her patients says that each of her sibling’s stories and ventures into medicine is unique.

“Our journey into the health field was led and encouraged by one another, especially our parents,” she told TODAYParents. “We all shared the desire to help others in some shape or form, but we each decided on our specialities based on our own strengths and personalities. No sibling rivalry or competition, just sibling motivation and inspiration.”

Chinyere says she was overwhelmed by the reaction her post received.

“I’ve had someone say they printed it out and they have it on their refrigerator so their children can see it as motivation,” she told Good Morning America. “It’s very touching. I’m happy that we’re able to shed some light in today’s world.”

“I have a friend who says my mother’s womb ‘must be very blessed to produced so many doctors’ — that one is probably the funniest one.”

She says that the photo was intended as a gift to her parents to show that all of their sacrifice and hard work has paid off.

“I honestly didn’t realize the impact or the message it sends to other people as we are going through it as a family,” she shared. “To be an adult and look back and realize ‘oh whoa, this is different. Not everybody does this.'”

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By D.G. Sciortino
hi@sbly.com
D.G. is a contributing writer in Shareably. She's based in Connecticut and can be reached at hi@shareably.net.
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