PESHAWAR: For almost three years. 42-year-old nurse Cecilia fought through the wounds sustained in the All Saints Church bomb blasts in 2013. However, on Wednesday morning, she succumbed to internal injuries that had, over time, taken the shape of cancer.
With tearstained eyes, her spouse Falaksher told The Express Tribune his wife was not the only one his community lost to the church attack. “We are still losing loved ones [after the attack].”
Cecilia was injured when a ball bearing hit her legs and other parts of the body. He said her tibia bone, on the lower left leg, was fractured.
“On that red Sunday, we and the rescuers took her to Lady Reading Hospital where she was operated on,” he said. “After the operation, we took her to North West General Hospital, but it did not cure her completely.”
He added that in mid-March, Cecilia suddenly felt pain in her right rib. “We took her to the hospital where doctors diagnosed her with cancer as the ball bearing was present in the body, spreading the disease inside her.”
Cecilia was a senior nurse at Lady Reading Hospital where she spent 22 years caring for patients. Days before she died, she went to the hospital administration to apply for leave as she had to see the doctor for chemotherapy.
The deceased’s uncle, Indrias Bhatti, told The Express Tribune she had gone through several operations just because of the pellets that pierced her body.
“We still fear we are not safe here; thousands of people died during the last decade but no one is doing anything to safeguard [those remaining],” Bhatti said. “Even on Sunday, when we gather at church, we arrange security by ourselves.”
Her cousin Irsa bhatti said Cecilia used to always pray for those who died in the church blast attack. “She has now gone to meet them,” he said. “We cannot believe she is not among us.”
Cecilia was critically injured in the twin suicide attacks at the All Saint Church on September 22, 2013. Over 100 people died and at least 150 suffered injuries on the tragic day.
Almost three years have passed, but those who were injured are still in pain because they cannot afford the expensive treatment and are leading miserable lives with ball bearings and pellets still in their bodies.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 14th, 2016.