Though he walks with crutches, Taimur Sajid’s ideals stand tall. He was diagnosed with polio at the tender age of one but chose to fight the odds keeping him from following his goals.
Currently pursuing an Economics degree at Jahanzeb College in Swat, the 22-year-old wants to lead a dignified life. For this reason, he has appealed to the president of Pakistan and humanitarian organisations to assist him in getting treatment. Besides the financial resources, he lacks a social support system to help overcome the crippling disease.
To his dismay, some conservative groups in his native Faizabad village consider polio vaccination “an anti-Muslim tactic to control and decrease the Muslim population”. However, Taimur hopes to eradicate the polio virus by steering clear of such myths. “To consider vaccination anti-Islamic is just absurd,” he said.
Back when his parents found out about his disease, the concept of polio inoculation was unheard of. Even his grandmother was not in the favour of vaccination. “My grandmother openly rejected the idea. She also discouraged my parents from getting me vaccinated,” he said. However, his parents now repent over their decision that has left him crippled in one leg, he said.
Despite disability, he wants to further his education and harness his sporty side. “I love cricket and can bat well. Though several times, I’ve had difficulty in carrying out my routine activities but I never let it upset me. I will complete my education and will get masters degree in my field,” he said, his eyes brightening up as he talked about his future plans.
“I hate to be dependent on others and want to stand on my own feet finishing my studies. I aim to bust the myths floating around about polio immunisation,” he said.
Taimur has consulted a physiotherapist in the Orthopedic Medical Centre in Lahore, who reinforced his hope of returning to a normal life. After conducting a detailed checkup, the doctor told him that his disability was curable with two surgeries. “But I can’t afford the sugeries, which cost about Rs300,000.”
He added, “If the government of Pakistan or any humanitarian organisation help me by sponsoring my surgeries, I will walk like normal people .and realise my dream of getting rid of crutches.”
Published In The Express Tribune, June 23rd, 2012.
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