This is Asif’s Test. What’s Yours?

Earlier this year, six year-old Muhammad Asif was diagnosed with Leukaemia. The youngest of four siblings, and a boy with dreams of becoming a pilot, Asif has always been that happy child who spreads joy to others. Today, in his checked hospital gown, the brave smile on his face takes some effort to muster.

“A Couple of months back Asif had a fever. We had to give him medicine for almost two weeks, but there was no improvement,” Asif’s father recounts. “A doctor recommended blood tests but the results were not encouraging. With the suggestion of another doctor we brought him to Shaukat Khanum Memorial Hospital.”

Asif underwent new tests at Shaukhat Khanum Hospital’s walk-in clinic and a through check-up by a team of doctors. “They were very kind and supportive,” Asif’s father recalls, “But the results were sill shattering. We have no family history of cancer and could never have imagined that our little boy could get this disease.”

Asif’s father works in a shop in Faisalabad for a limited salary. When he made the journey to Lahore, to bring his youngest to Shaukat Khanum Hospital, his heart was heavy with fears for his son’s life and the helpless desperation of knowing that he wouldn’t be able to afford the high cost of cancer treatment. Today he is praying for the donors who made his son’s treatment possible. Without financial worries, his main concern is Asif’s recovery now. “We are fortunate to have a hospital like this in our country,” he says, “where patients who cannot afford this expensive treatment are provided with the best health care facilities without paying a single rupee.”

Asif has been at Shaukat Khanum Hospital for two months. He’s undergone one chemotherapy session and is awaiting his next. Initially Asif was afraid of the strange environment and all the procedures involving needles. The pain also made him very distressed, but now his condition is stable. “We have experienced genuine care and tenderness from the doctors and all the staff here,” says Asif’s father. His son’s treatment could last for a whole year, but he and his wife are holding onto hope.

For Muslims, every inward and outward struggle in this life is a test. This is the test of Muhammad Asif and his family. What’s yours?

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