A Father’s Fight for His Son’s Life

When Walid fell ill at age six, it was the beginning of a devastating time for his whole family. For months, his parents took their son from one doctor to another, seeking a cure.

“We noticed that he was losing weight rapidly,” recalls his father, Muhammad Qamar. “First he started to complain of pain in his stomach and back, then he developed a fever. Soon he was too poorly to attend school or even go out to play. He lost interest in all the things he enjoyed. He loved to read. He loved cricket. He loved playing with his friends and siblings. But all of that ended. He became restricted to his bed, and we watched him wasting away.”

Just remembering those days still upsets Qamar. He takes a moment to gather himself before continuing to explain that he and his wife had initially thought their son had jaundice. When the treatment for that failed, they were at their wits end, particularly as Qamar was finding it increasingly difficult to pay for Waleed’s tests and treatment. Living in Ghotki, Sind, Qamar worked as a salesman in a private firm. In that last month before they found out their son had cancer, his work performance had suffered drastically, and his job was at risk.

“Fortunately help was at hand,” explains Qamar. “A relative told us that free cancer treatment for poor and deserving cancer patients was available at Shaukat Khanum Hospital.” Qamar admits that at the time he didn’t actually believe this relative. However, he had no other option than to try. Qamar took his son to the Shaukat Khanum Walk-in clinic in Karachi, where Waleed underwent a detailed examination, which was followed by a series of tests. At the end of it all the medical team there were forced to give Waleed’s parents some devastating news –Waleed was suffering from cancer of the pancreas.

“I was told that my son could be treated, but that he would have to go to the hospital in Lahore for this,” Says Qamar. “It was difficult, as I had never visited Lahore before, but the two of us set off the very next day.”

A SKMCH, Waleed underwent a detailed evaluation by a highly professional team of doctors and was admitted for treatment. “Until now, all his treatment has been completely free, for which I can never thank the hospital enough.” Qamar goes on to explain the challenges they faced as a family during that year of Waleed’s treatment, particularly since he lost his job and was forced to relocate to Lahore.

“You can imagine what a difficult time this was for us as a family – I had already lost my job. My wife and I had to be in Lahore with Waleed, while our other children were in Ghotki, with their aunt. Yet at this most difficult time, the doctors and nurses at Shaukat Khanum Hospital gave us courage and hope in our fight against cancer. I cannot stress how important that was for us. How it helped us through those dark days.”

Qamar’s family has now moved to Karachi, where they live, reunited once again. Qamar has found a new job and all his children, including Waleed, are back in school.

“That troubled time is over for my family, but I often find myself thinking of all the poor patients we met during our time at the hospital, and who were lucky enough to obtain access to proper medical assistance before their cancer advanced to a point where it was no longer curable. Shaukat Khanum Hospital is a blessing, and we should have more of them, in all of the big cities in Pakistan, in order to help more deserving patients who cannot travel to seek treatment.”

Waleed’s story is just one of many from among the thousands of poor cancer patients who have beat cancer at Shaukat Khanum Hospital. Their treatment was possible only through your Zakat and Sadaqah and most of all, your trust in our work. Thank you for your ongoing support.

You can sponsor the full or partial treatment of a child patient like Waleed at Shaukat Khanum Hospital, and give a family hope of life. Find out More.

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