In 2008, my 8-year old granddaughter Mehtab Dar, a student of Beaconhouse School System Sialkot, was diagnosed with blood cancer. The news left our family devastated. The thought of losing the sprightly little innocent soul was heart wrenching.
We believed that we really had no hope against cancer but still somehow managed to follow the advice of the doctor and brought her all the way from Sialkot to Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital and Research Centre in Lahore. After some initial tests Mehtab’s treatment for cancer began. By the grace of God we were financially sound so we paid for the entire treatment cost ourselves. We didn’t want to take any risks as Mehtab’s life was at stake so after the initial treatment we decided to also take her to a renowned oncologist in Germany. After the oncologist reviewed the medical summary and discussed the case with Dr. Ibrahim Nasir at Shaukat Khanum Hospital on the phone, not only did he express his complete satisfaction with regard to the treatment but also recommended us to rest assured and take Mehtab back to Shaukat Khanum Cancer Hospital and continue with the treatment. His confidence in the Hospital was enough for us to bring her back to Pakistan.
During a year-long treatment that she received at the Hospital, we went through difficult times and as well as hopeful moments. Mehtab was so courageous that she refused to use a wheelchair even during the time that she had become weak after chemotherapy. She was determined to defeat the disease and help others who were also going through the same ordeal. She would buy gifts for the other children under treatment at the Hospital from her own pocket money and encourage them to continue with the treatment.
During the time Mehtab was under treatment I personally had the chance to witness the poor people being treated at the Hospital without any charge. There was never any discrimination between any service provided to them and Mehtab. Shaukat Khanum Hospital is indeed a great blessing for all cancer patients. By the grace of God, Mehtab is now living a healthy life. She wants to become a doctor and serve humanity by building a Hospital like SKMCH&RC where the rich and the poor will receive state-of-the-art treatment facilities, irrespective of their ability to pay.
After the completion of her treatment we once again sent her reports to the oncologist in Germany. He was once again impressed that treatment of an international standard were being provided in a developing country like Pakistan and expressed his desire to visit it in the future.