The History of SKMCH

Imran Khan: "When a nation decides to help its poor, God finds ways for it to succeed. The real thing is to have honest intentions. It is my belief that God willing, one day you will see that we will be successful in eradicating poverty."

At one million square feet, our new Karachi hospital will be double the size of our first hospital in Lahore, meaning even more patients will be treated for free. Let’s take a moment to look back on the historic milestones that turned a personal tragedy of loss into a national story of hope, healing, and unity.


Imran Khan Childhood

Imran Khan's mother, Shaukat Khanum, passed away from colon cancer at the young age of 63. The pain of her death was hard for Imran to bear, especially knowing that the disease was treatable. He also saw the struggles of those who could not afford medical care. This motivated Imran to honour his mother by establishing a cancer hospital in Pakistan that would support those most in need, for free. Despite having little experience in philanthropy, Imran, who was captain of the Pakistan National Cricket Team, was determined to set up the hospital based on the Islamic idea of charity.


Imran Khan fundraising

Despite being told by experts that it was impossible, Imran refused to give up on his dream of creating a free hospital for cancer patients in his country. With his conviction and determination to help those in need, he reached out to his friends and contacts from around the world. This resulted in many global stars – actors, singers, athletes, and public figures – coming forward, offering their support, and spreading the word about his noble mission.


SKMCH Building

Encouraged by the positive feedback from his friends, Imran asked Dr Nausherwan Khan Burki, a Professor of Medicine at the University of Kentucky, USA, to develop a master plan for a cancer hospital in Lahore. Dr Burki would later become the first CEO of the hospital.

The building, now a nationally recognised symbol of Pakistan, and celebrated by Pakistanis the world over, was designed by Judd & Rapp, Architects in Health Planning in Louisville, Kentucky. The onsite design details and the engineering works were handled locally by Nayyar Ali Dada & Associates and Progressive Consultants, Lahore.


The foundation for the hospital was laid, creating hundreds of jobs, and providing an immediate boost to the local economy. The project quickly gained attention, including from prominent figures like Princess Diana of Wales, who visited Pakistan to show their support for the charitable work of cricketer- turned-philanthropist Imran Khan. Princess Diana would return twice more to shine a light on the hospital.


Imran Khan World Cup

Imran Khan led his team to victory in the Cricket World Cup. He donated the full sum of his prize money (£90,000) to the hospital construction. Since then, he has been one of the hospital's biggest financial supporters, donating 15-20% of his subsequent earnings to the hospital each year.


Imran Khan World Cup

Imran leveraged the publicity from his recent sporting success to host star-studded fundraising events, concerts, and charity cricket matches in Pakistan and London. Several renowned actors and musicians, including Dilip Kumar, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Tareeb Kumar, Moin Akhtar, Sunil Dutt, and Madam Noor Jahan, came out to support his appeals.


Imran Khan SKMCH

Six weeks before the hospital was set to open, Imran was still short of the funds needed to complete the construction. To help bridge this shortfall, Imran took on an ambitious fundraising campaign. He travelled to 30 cities across Pakistan, riding atop a pick-up truck, and was met with great enthusiasm by Pakistanis who were eager to contribute. From their generous donations of money, gold, and even deeds of properties, Imran was able to raise an impressive £3.5 million in record time.


Imran Khan SKMCH

On December 29, Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital opened its doors in Lahore. Sumera Yusuf, our first cancer patient, was invited to cut the ribbon.


Our founder has dedicated his life to improving the welfare of ordinary Pakistanis. He is unable to make an appeal for Shaukat Khanum Hospitals this year, but in his absence, we hope you will continue supporting our new Karachi hospital and show that we still stand together in the fight against cancer.

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