Inspiration Personified

Sajda
Haneef – inspiration personified
Emotional
Support has a broad meaning. As part of our professional duties and commitments
to TMF, we MaxStations believe in taking the concept of Emotional Support to
include new dimensions of human psychology – the deeper sentiments and dreams.
Accordingly, I think we have to play extended roles in exploring & tackling
new situations as they come our way. The stories that MaxStations share in this
blog continue to inspire all of us and we do draw our lessons from them.

Trying
to intervene and offer help in a similar situation, the one patient that
impressed me by her positive response was Sajda Hanif. In my five year stint /
tenure with the TMF, I have seldom seen such courage, passion and determination
in a CML patient who is in a chronic stage. Her optimism and will power give me
a sense of satisfaction that all my motivational effort wasn’t wasted.
When
I had met Sajda Hanif [pronounced as Saajeda Haneef], 29, six years back, she
had already been diagnosed with CML. She told me how she remained in a state of
shock for several months. Prior to this illness she had suffered from TB
meningitis and underwent a long medical treatment. The prime part of her youth
was spent in fighting with illnesses and this shattered her dreams of
continuing her education.
After
several sessions of emotional support counseling, I started feeling she was
trying to come to terms with her state of health and extend her cooperation in
continuing the treatment under the NOA.
Soon
with the treatment she started responding to the medicine and feeling better.
This gave her some courage.  This was
when I talked to her about her ambitions in life. She said she had to quit her
studies when she first became ill. Then while she had started recovering from
TB meningitis, came the CML diagnosis and she wasn’t certain she would ever
live enough to reach her goals in life.

Sajda
comes from a low-income household. Her father was a rickshaw driver who worked
hard from dawn to dusk to earn enough to feed his family members. He died when
Sajda was only 5. Sajda’s brother was also young. Sajda’s mother had to do odd
jobs to support her family. Sajda’s brother learned the craft of machine
embroidery and settled in Lahore. He later got married and had his own family
to take care of. His meager income didn’t allow him to support his mother and
sister. As if this was not enough, the mother a few years ago was diagnosed
with Hepatitis ‘C’. She receives free treatment from a government hospital and
continues to work for livelihood.
Sajda
wanted to resume her studies despite the long gap. I told her she could do that
with a little effort and genuine interest. She was worried about the cost of
books. I assured her of providing all the books and bearing all related
expenses including her matriculation examination fee. This delighted her and
she was all set to begin a new chapter in her life.

Sajda
and her mother had invited me to their house and I had promised them I’ll pay
them a visit. I recently went to her house in Karachi’s old city area. I took
along a volunteer friend who says every “success story” renews his belief in
life. Sajda’s mother met us at the assigned place across the Christ Church on
Nishtar Road. She guided us through a few dark and narrow lanes and finally we
entered her house on the first floor through a steep staircase. Both mother and
daughter live in a single-room house with a small kitchen. Sajda was glad to
see the books and study material I had brought for her. She served us
refreshments and we discussed her study plans. My friend talked about the
unlimited opportunities for self-study via Internet. We saw a shine of hope in
Sajda’s eyes. I’m sure she is determined to work hard in order to compensate
for the time lost. Nothing is impossible before a man’s passion and
determination.

The
mother told us Sajda was recently engaged to a man who lives in the area. He
understands her condition but is still ready to marry her. This was good news
but I need to discuss this with Sajda’s physician. Sajda thinks she should
complete her studies first. Personally, I hope this will bring happiness in
their lives and reflect positively on their health. I pray that this happiness
lasts long enough. I told Sajda seeking knowledge is a life-long activity and
that she can continue her studies after her marriage. It’s good to note that
the people in this small close-knitted locality are cooperative and caring.
This is contrary to people’s attitude in this mega city where selfishness is
eating up our good values and traditions. I took some snaps of Sajda and her
mother and then we left. It was so good to see the mother and daughter smiling.
May they smile forever and also share smiles with others. When returning, I
discussed Sajda’s case with my friend. We agreed she should not delay her
marriage as she is almost 30 already. I wish despite the health condition, the
marriage is mutually successful, healthy, happy and blessed for the couple and
the children are healthy. I also pray for the health of Sajda’s mother. May she
live to enjoy the company of Sajda’s children.

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