“Abu, when will my hair grow back? When I go back to school, I will have to braid my hair again,”9-year-old Mariyam has not been able to go to school for almost a year now. She eagerly waits to get back to school and meet her friends. She gets restless at even the thought of the games her friends would be playing, or of how much fun she is missing out on. She can't join them because her cancer has come back and this time more aggressively.
“She is a very kind girl, and cannot hurt anybody. She knows I struggled a lot to get her treated. So, she keeps telling me it does not hurt her, but I have seen how this disease has eaten into her life. She has become so quiet, and looks very frail. It has destroyed her on the inside. But she keeps saying she is fine, and will recover and go to school soon. Sometimes I forget I am keeping her alive. It seems like she is keeping me alive.”
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