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."
As we look forward to the completion of our third and largest free cancer hospital in Karachi, let's take a moment to remember how, together, we have been able to transform a personal tragedy into a national success story.
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 her son, 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, which would provide the best treatment to those most in need, free of charge. Despite having little experience in philanthropy, Imran, who was captain of the Pakistan National Cricket Team at the time, was determined to set up the hospital that would provide a legacy of hope to many.
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.
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 the master plan for Shaukat Khanum Hospital in Lahore. Dr Burki would later become the first CEO of the hospital when it was completed.
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 Shaukat Khanum 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 work of the hospital.
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 leveraged the publicity from his recent sporting success to host star-studded fundraising events, concerts, and charity cricket matches in Pakistan and London. He was joined by several renowned actors and musicians, including Amitabh Bachchan, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Tareeb Kumar, Moin Akhtar, Sunil Dutt, and Madam Noor Jahan, to help make the hospital a reality.
Six weeks before Shaukat Khanum Hospital Lahore was set to open, we were still short of the funds needed to complete the construction. To help bridge this shortfall, Imran Khan 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.
On December 29, Shaukat Khanum Hospital opened its doors in Lahore. Sumera Yusuf, our first cancer patient, inaugurated the hospital with Imran Khan.
Almost three decades later, we are building our third free cancer hospital in Pakistan. At one million square feet, Shaukat Khanum Karachi will have 47 outpatient examination rooms, a 69-bed chemotherapy facility, 288 inpatient beds, 16 operation theatres, and 24 intensive care beds.
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