You may recognise Ahmad Abdullah. He was the face of Shaukat Khanum Hospital’s Zakat Campaign for 2022. But Ahmad’s role in the campaign videos isn’t just acting.
In 2017, Ahmad was diagnosed with cancer, and had to undergo treatment at Shaukat Khanum Hospital, in Lahore. Today, at age eight, Ahmad is much better. His mother is an active campaigner for Shaukat Khanum’s work. She shares the story of how her son survived cancer.
“Ahmad was only 4 years-old when we first noticed bruising around his neck and on his arms. It was 2017 and we were living in Saudi Arabia at the time. At first we assumed the bruises had been caused by play fighting amongst siblings. But after a few days, when the bruises did not subside, my husband became quite worried.
My husband knew that unexplained bruising could be a sign of something more sinister. He immediately took our son to a local hospital where Ahmad underwent various blood tests. The results showed a dangerously low platelet count, indicating the possibility of blood cancer.
We went to several different hospitals in Saudi Arabia, but none would accept Ahmad for treatment. In this race against time, we left our other three children behind and took Ahmad to Pakistan. Our life had suddenly been turned on its head.
At Shaukat Khanum Hospital, Ahmad’s bone-marrow biopsy confirmed the diagnosis of acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL), a type of blood cancer. To say that this felt like an apocalyptic moment would be an understatement. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. My husband kept saying that his long-term goal of building a house in Pakistan no longer mattered – he just wanted our son to live.
The reality was that we didn’t have enough resources to pay for Ahmad’s prolonged cancer treatment, which was estimated to last for four years. But Shaukat Khanum did not abandon us. Ahmad received financially supported treatment, and I repeatedly witnessed patients receiving the same quality of treatment at the hospital, regardless of their ability to pay.
At the Lahore hospital, Ahmad was treated like a member of the family, along with all the children under treatment there. A playroom staffed by qualified play therapists helped divert his attention from his treatment. The Hospital provided nutritious meals and, to my surprise, even took great pains to cater to my child’s food preferences.
Ahmad has thankfully completed active cancer treatment and is now on regular follow-ups. He’s back at school and it makes me extremely happy to see my son enjoy, once again, a normal childhood, after his long ordeal with cancer.
Shaukat Khanum Hospitals are a huge blessing. I can’t fully express my gratitude but, in a small attempt to say thank you personally, I started a YouTube channel, the earnings from which I have been donating to Shaukat Khanum Hospital. It’s the least I can do after they gave my son another chance at life.
Ahmad says he wants to grow up to become a doctor and return to Shaukat Khanum Hospital as a healer, rather than as a patient. I hope and pray that my son’s dream comes true.”
Each year, cancer upends the lives of thousands of families around the world. At Shaukat Khanum Hospitals in Lahore and Peshawar, patients from across the globe receive specialised, world-class cancer treatment regardless of their ability to pay. It’s your support that makes this possible.Sponsor A Cancer Patient Back to Latest News