"Elders taught us to look for signs that death is nearing. I never thought I'd see it in my own little girl. She's barely eating. She is not even sleeping. The TV is on, but she is not interested in watching anything, or even talking. She's given up. I am not ready to." - Sahul Hameed Muhammed Ramzan (Father)
7-year-old Zeenathun is currently in critical condition in the ICU of Rela Institute. Only a few months ago, she was diagnosed with liver disease, one that has been slowly and silently breaking her from the inside for years. There was not much time left to contemplate when hospitals in their town asked them to seek help elsewhere. Today, Sahul is running out of time to save Zeenathun.
Her hands are as thin as the handle of a cricket bat. Veins show through her skin, making her look shriveled.Zeenathun does not recognize her own face in the mirror anymore. She feels like something is draining her of all energy. She is unable to even cry for more than 2 minutes. A 7-year-old who should be playing with her siblings right now is confined to a cold white bed, staring at the white walls all day long.
"She's been sick since she was 4 years old. First her knees used to swell up. Then, she had black ulcers on her legs. Slowly she started losing weight. Her stomach is always bloated. It was only 4 months ago that we discovered that her liver is completely damaged. Her body has been fighting to survive."
This is their only chance to get Zeenathun a liver transplantSahul is a daily wage laborer from Badul, near Colombo. He provides for his wife and three children with a monthly income of less than INR 7000. When hospitals in his little town failed to diagnose Zeenathun, he went to the city. He was told to come back within 3 months, with INR 60 Lakhs for a liver transplant. However, when Zeenathun's condition neared critical, the hospital suggested seeking help elsewhere.
"I thanked Allah for showing us the path. The transplant in India costs around Rs. 22 lakhs. It is still a lot for me, but at least people are being helpful. When I was leaving, my community paid for my tickets. They arranged for Rs. 3 lakhs in Indian money so we can make our daily meal, rent and some medical bills here. We have already spent Rs. 2 lakhs on the tests. I will be the donor, but now I have less than 1 week to arrange the money for the transplant."
"Her body constantly speaks to her. Now it is telling her to give up."Zeenathun's condition is worsening with every minute's delay in surgery. Her tests have shown that she might need this transplant anytime within this week. She does not know she needs surgery. Sahul says it could scare her and ruin her chances of survival. They just hope waking up from surgery gives her hope.
"If my liver is in her, she will find the strength to survive and recover soon. A part of me will help her beat this. We have everything needed, just not the money for the transplant. Every minute, when she closes her eyes to blink, I am scared that she will not open them again."
Zeenathun is just 7 years old. Half of that life, she has survived the pain. Today, she needs the Internet to come together and gift her a future. Your contribution can help her live.