By the time Dr Tariq Mahmood was wrapping up his presentation on a robot that will treat cancer at Jinnah hospital, Ruhail Mohammed, the chief financial officer of Engro Corp, was already filling in a pledge form.
Indeed, other big guns from the corporate world also put pen to paper on Friday evening at the Jinnah hospital Patients Aid Foundation’s (PAF) fundraiser for its new CyberKnife project.
The event was sponsored by banks and corporate organizations with each seat going for Rs5,000. All the funds will be donated to the project.
“What better than something like this coming to the public sector,” said Prof. Iffat Yazdani, a consultant nephrologist at Aga Khan Hospital and Park Lane hospital. “It is a great thing because there are so many people who needed this treatment in Pakistan but could not afford it.” Giving a presentation on the robotic medical technology to the audience, the head of the department of radiology, Dr Tariq Mahmood, said that CyberKnife is a non-invasive treatment for cancerous and non-cancerous tumors anywhere in the body. The machine will be up and running by March.
But the project needs the support of about 1,000 individuals to be able to treat an estimated 1,000 deserving patients every year for $1,000 each.
“It is always worthwhile to donate when you know that your contribution is not going into the wrong hands,” remarked Parvez Ghias, the chief executive officer of Indus Motors. He said that the causes for health are always a good way to give back to society.
Ghazala Sohail, the director of the Jinnah Institute of Nursing, also stressed the need to support causes that carry weight for the public.
The highlight of the evening was the Imran Aslam play, ‘Jalse se jal se gaye’. He spared no one with his acerbic wit – jalsas, the fashion industry, the US, Veena Malik, the army and ISI, President Zardari, the Taliban, load shedding and gas shortages, Husain Haqqani and Raymond Davis.
Apart from the fundraising, it was also an evening to thank the families who have supported the cause. Mushtaq Chhapra, the chairman of the executive committee of the PAF, thanked people and organisations such as Ameena Adaya and family, Omer Sheikh, Al Baraka Bank, Abdul Sattar Edhi. PAF’s contributions to Jinnah hospital include a blood bank, radiology and emergency department, and an upgraded ICU. “The CyberKnife is one of its kind in Pakistan and has made us the only country in the world that is giving its treatment free,” he said. Both Chhapra and PAF’s chairman Zahid Bashir said that the main reason for the event was to raise awareness about the technology but on top of their agenda was fundraising.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 15th, 2012.
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