“At that tender age, I didn’t know the meaning of cancer. The only thing I remember was going to Shaukat Khanum Hospital for regular treatment while taking extended leave from school.”
I was the first-born child in our household so the news of blood cancer created havoc in my entire family. We lived in rented home in Lahore and expensive cancer treatment seemed impossible at the time. The thought of losing their precious young child was unbearable and shocking for my parents. Such acute distress either makes you simply give up or it makes you fight a lot harder than usual. For my parents, it was fortunately the latter. They went beyond their limitations to save my life and brought me to Shaukat Khanum Cancer Hospital & Research Centre (SKMCH&RC). We were blessed with the welcome news that my treatment would be completely free of cost.
At that tender age, I didn’t know the meaning of cancer. The only thing I remember was going to SKMCH&RC for regular treatment while taking extended leave from school. It wasn’t until I entered grade 8 that I discovered that I had cancer. On the way back from school one day, I recall asking my father about what I had heard. His eyes filled with tears as he replied, “Don’t worry about it my child. By the grace of Allah Almighty, you are in the safe hands of qualified doctors and other staff of Shaukat Khanum Cancer Hospital.”
My parents took me regularly to the Hospital for years, with only one object in mind: getting their child healthy. We celebrated several Eids at the Hospital due to my continuous chemotherapy treatment. In all those years of my treatment, my family, including my two younger sisters and two brothers, never demonstrated how distraught they might have felt.
During these long painstaking years of treatment, the spirit to fight back instilled within my soul. The environment and care at SKMCH&RC taught me to be positive towards life. After recovery, I studied two grades in one year to catch up with my class fellows. I also participated in online international mathematics contests and painting exhibitions at school. I realized that if you are determined to work hard and have faith in God, you can cope with any difficulty in life. I worked hard at academics and scored 863 marks in matriculation exams recently. My foremost inspiration in life is to become a doctor and to serve humanity.
I am very thankful to Allah that I have survived cancer and am today living a healthy life. My best wishes go out to Imran Khan for conceptualizing this wonderful Hospital. I am also grateful to my parents, doctors and staff at SKMCH&RC, whose efforts made it possible for me to now live a cancer-free life.