What do Yuvraj Singh and Talha Butt have in common?

When Yuvraj Singh was diagnosed with cancer in 2011, cricket fans the world over held their breath. Around the same time, 15-year old Talha in Pakistan was diagnosed with the same form of cancer in the same location as the star cricketer.

Yuvraj Singh received chemotherapy in the United States, followed by intensive rehabilitation before he could return to face New Zealand at the T20 in September 2012. Talha’s parents could scarcely afford the high cost of treatment in Lahore. What’s more, a dearth of medical expertise at standard hospitals cost their son precious time.

‘I was told they’d decide how to go ahead after I got the biopsy done. But when the biopsy report came after a week, the results were inconclusive. So [the senior] doctor said he would do it again himself, because apparently it wasn’t done properly.’

Before he was brought to Shaukat Khanum Hospital for an MRI, Talha Butt suffered excruciating pain for three months at another hospital in Lahore. It took the doctors much too long to gain a clear diagnosis. Eventually they themselves referred Talha to Shaukat Khanum.

‘The second biopsy took another week to do –so I was there for 3 months almost. During this time I was receiving no treatment at all. I was vomiting and they did blood tests almost twice or three times every day. For three months they just gave me Disprine or Panadol.’

Talha’s story is not uncommon in Pakistan. This is a country with no national health service, and a dearth of resources and expertise when it comes to cancer. If it weren’t for Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital (SKMCH), those who can’t afford treatment abroad would be hopeless. Watch the video to learn the rest of Talha’s story and how he survived cancer despite all the odds.

Shaukat Khanum Hospital was born of a national spirit, which refuses to accept that the poor simply do not get the same chances at life. It has become part of the fabric of Pakistan, and testament to the societal justice we can achieve as a nation.Find Out how you can help children like Talha survive cancer in Pakistan.

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