“Last month when she was getting blood, her heartbeat went up to 180. Even the doctors got scared! They had to stop the transfusion immediately. The only thing that has kept her alive, can now kill her. She tells me she doesn’t want to go to Allah, she begs me to save her. She’s only 6! She shouldn’t know what death is…she shouldn’t!” - Nazma, mother
Today she’s celebrating her birthday, tomorrow anything can happenIt took Nazma 1 year to learn about Thalassemia – the disease that doesn’t let Rifa’s body produce new blood. The blood transfusions she gets every 15 days, is now making her condition worse. The frequent fevers, boils all over her body, redness in her eyes, the excruciating pain, the vomiting – all signs that the transfusions too, will stop working. A bone marrow transplant is the only thing that can save her.
“Today is her 6th birthday…we’ve sent her to school after weeks. She’s taken chocolates for her classmates. But I’ve told the teacher to call me if she even coughs…I haven’t moved away from my phone. I’m so scared all the time.”
I have faith that my God won’t take my only child away, but…Rifa is Nazma and Riaz’s only child. They’ve spent the last year living in fear. Every time Riaz leaves for work, he hugs his daughter a little longer. The few days that she goes to school, Nazma doesn’t eat, worried sick about what can happen to her child.
“We’ve tried our best to not take away her childhood from her. If we stop sending her to school, what will her life be? Nowadays she keeps asking me why she’s not like other children. She asks me what she’s done to deserve this. I tell her Allah is looking after her. And I believe that. My God won’t take my only child away from me…”
We’ve never even seen a lakh, 38 is unimaginable!As the side effects of the blood transfusion get worse, Riaz and Nazma are trying their best to arrange money for her bone marrow transplant. But 38 lakhs for someone who works in a meat shop is more than he can ever earn or imagine.
“We’ve never even seen a lakh, 38 is unimaginable! My husband is trying his best…but everyone we know is also poor like us. All we want is a healthy childhood for our Rifa. Is that too much to ask for? She’s all we have, she’s all we want. Rifa is our whole life.”
Imagine leaving your house every day, worried that this is the last time you will see your child. Imagine not knowing what the next hour holds for your little one. Imagine being worried that she won’t come back from the hospital. Nazma and Riaz feel this every single minute now. Rifa needs a bone marrow transplant at the earliest.