Ali: I was diagnosed with bone cancer at the age of 15. Now I'm 18 and cancer free.

“In the future, I want to be a part of Shaukat Khanum's noble cause, in any way possible. So that I can play my role in helping others.”

Ali Abbas is one of six siblings. He and his family of nine live in Gujranwala, Pakistan. Ali’s father is a shipping manager for a local bottling company. His mother is an M.A in Islamiyat. Today, Ali is like any 18 year old, cheerful and full of life. But in 2003, he and his family were confronted with an unexpected reality following an accident.

It happened in August. Ali was celebrating his 15th birthday when he fell from a slide, which resulted in a painful and swollen left shoulder. When he was taken to hospital, x-rays suggested the possibility of a bone tumour. A biopsy was carried out and the results confirmed the initial diagnosis of Osteosarcoma (bone cancer).

Osteosarcoma is the most common bone tumour seen in growing children. It is highly malignant and requires aggressive treatment with chemotherapy and surgery. Often, doctors resort to amputating the affected bone.

Ali’s parents consulted a few doctors and each time he would be asked to leave the room before his condition was discussed. Being excluded from discussions upset him, particularly since he was the one suffering. Finally, in September that same year, Ali’s parents took him to one of the walk-in clinics for Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital (SKMCH). Prior to their visit, they’d been told that SKMCH had very expensive treatment. But in their desperation they didn’t want to leave any stone unturned. Ali was admitted the following month.

Consultants at SKMCH took special care to prepare Ali, both physically and psychologically, for his long and difficult treatment. They helped him to use his natural strength of character to bear the process. Ali, to date, appreciates the honesty and sincerity of the doctors and recognises the courage and endurance it provided him with.

Luckily for Ali, the team of specialists at SKMCH were able to remove the tumor while allowing the treated arm maximum possible functionality. The diseased bone in his left upper arm was surgically removed, along with his shoulder blade, and the shoulder was reconstructed using metal rods.

Ali admits being very tense at the beginning of his treatment and is grateful to the good natured staff who supported him and his parents. Positive and lively in his thinking, Ali now talks about his time at SKMCH as something he treasures, “This kind of opportunity does not come twice!” he jokes. While in hospital, he made the most of his time watching movies and helping with welfare programmes. He now considers SKMCH a second home, where the staff greet him like he were family.

Today, Ali has regained his health and is back to normal life. He dedicates himself to his studies, and has topped Gujranwala Board in D.Com. “In the future,” he says, “I want to be a part of Shaukat Khanum’s noble cause, in any way possible. So that I can play my role in helping others.”

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