Zulfiqar Ali Khan was 15 when he was diagnosed with leukaemia. After treatment at the Aga Khan University Hospital (AKUH), the young man, now 19, lives to tell his tale.
Khan was walking around the lawns at the health facility on Friday afternoon, greeting every doctor and nurse who passed by. The pre-engineering student is now in his first year of college. "I had never known my disease, I was told that I just have high fever," he told The Express Tribune. Now that he has successfully fought cancer, the young man still visits the hospital to meet the staff members, who are now his friends.
The AKUH administration had organised its annual children's oncology and haematology party on Friday for cancer survivors and their parents.
The pharmacy department gave out hats and bands to children, while the nursing department had prepared several games for the children. The nutrition camp was decorated with food replicas. "We have decorated our camp with five food groups," explained Nabila, the camp attendant, who works as a nurse at AKUH. The main purpose for this event is to make the little cancer patients feel that cancer is curable, she said. "We have named our event 'Celebrate Life' so that these patients will feel that they are not alone."
The children seemed to be having a good time playing games, solving crossword puzzles, getting their faces painted, and watching the magic and puppet shows. Some children also learned how to dance while others posed at the photo booth.
AKUH has been arranging this annual party for the past 10 years, said oncologist Dr Zehra Fadoo. "We had organised this get-together to give a hope to the child patients admitted at the hospital," she said.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 18th, 2015.