“I remember when I was 12 years old, I was in school and the principal punched me in my stomach really hard three times. It was after this incident I fell really sick- my body would ache- I would constantly have fever. Me being abused and developing cancer may not be connected but that is the clarity I have of the moment when the nightmare started.
When I was first brought to this hospital, my mother told me I just had an ordinary fever and that this was a regular check up. But I knew how to read english and when I looked up and saw the sign, it said “Children Cancer Hospital”, I knew I did not have an ordinary fever. After all the tests, I was made to wait in a separate room while the doctors spoke to my mother. I believe they told her that she needed to tell me I had cancer or else I would not be able to bear the pain of the treatment. I remember vividly she walked into the room and said “Don’t be afraid by what I am going to tell you”. I looked straight at her and said, “Why would I be afraid? I know I have cancer.” The doctor was shocked that I was not crying or upset. I told him, Allah has given me this disease, He will help me overcome it too.
While undergoing treatment, sometimes the doctors would come chat with me and tell me when I talk I have the maturity of an 80 year old wise man. I countered this by playing plenty of pranks on them with the other patient friends I made here! We have become a little family here and even though I am no longer a patient anymore, I come and hang out and help motivate other kids who are going through chemo.
I will be 16 on the 19th of September and I hope to do my matriculation and then Masters after which I aim to join the Navy or Air Force. I’m quite passionate about serving my country. Even though my roots are in Afghanistan (my father is Afghani and my mother is from Iran) I am a born and bred Pakistani and no one has ever made me feel like I do not belong to this country. No one has ever pointed a finger at me and told me you are Afghani or “go back to your country”. I have a lot of plans for the future, Inshallah, everything will go smoothly here on.”
Featuring Mehdi; Former patient, blood cancer survivor and a complete rockstar from Indus Children Cancer Hospital