I wanted to be an aeronautical engineer but then my life changed forever on that eventful hot summer day!
I still remember that blistering hot summer day. I was taking my Grade 8 exams. I was so focused on my exams that I gave no attention to my nose bleeding the night before. In the exam hall again the bleeding occurred. The teacher thought it was because of the hot weather. But then I started vomiting blood. The teachers got alarmed but I was determined that I had to complete my paper.
The exams ended and I finally went to see the doctor. The doctor at the local clinic urged my parents not to delay taking me to Shaukat Khanum Cancer Hospital. I was upset with the doctor as I did not want to miss the chance of winning a Writing Competition that had been planned at school the following day.
At Shaukat Khanum Hospital I came to know I had Leukaemia! It was curable but it meant not being able to go to school and thus not being able to become aeronautical engineer. If I could not go to school then I must study on my own I thought and went on to take my matriculation and intermediate exams through self-study.
Studying was not hard. I had to go through long chemotherapy processes. Instead of sitting there counting drops, I would study but I did miss school and my friends there. Thus despite my lack of immunity and resistance from doctors and my family, I did go back to school for one unforgettable day only! I used to be a handsome boy but due to the cancer treatment I had lost my hair, my complexion had darkened and I had gained weight. I cannot forget that day when I walked into my own school and all the students including my friends laughed at me and mocked me. I was completely shattered. After that I never returned to school except for when I had to take my exams as I was focused on my goal of getting good grades and I got them!
During my studies for Intermediate exams, I was going through the most strenuous period of my treatment . Death had never crossed my mind for I wanted to live to be an engineer. In between treatments I would go home. I would lie there in my bed listening to my cousins and friends laughing and having a fun time while I could hardly walk.
I passed Intermediate exams with good grades and excelled in the entrance test for engineering University. I got admission in FAST and LUMS but Lahore was full of memories – some good memories, some not very good. My friends and cousins had gone abroad to pursue their dreams. I felt defeated in the competition of academic excellence. If I could not go abroad I had to go out of Lahore and that is when I decided to do my Engineering at Namal University.
My treatment was over. Cancer was defeated. It was time to have a life yes I could not be an aeronautical engineer but could be an electrical engineer which I would be by this time next year. I will have a good job then.
I have a great life ahead but it would not have been possible without the blessing of Allah, the unrelenting support of my father who had been my superhero, my mother who never cried in front of me and my siblings who despite having their life priorities adjusted their lives for me. Am thankful to them but am extremely thankful to those donors who I have never met but whose financial generosity enabled my treatment. I will remain indebted to the donors forever so will the thousands of people like me for without their generous donations, maybe our dreams of having a normal life would have remain unaccomplished.