Stories about Thalassemia

World Thalassemia Day: Is Pakistan not charitable enough?

My dear homeland not only lingers behind in valuable energy resources but also lacks in philanthropy and benevolence. Very few people endeavour to promote human welfare and even fewer perform charitable tasks in our society. We hardly desire or care about doing something to help the less fortunate. A spider bite may not be able to transform you into a superhero but a tiny needle prick and a little bit of your time definitely can. Yes, you can become a super hero and for that, all you have to do is donate blood. All of us know that giving blood provides an essential lifeline ...

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Having the thalassemia gene does not make you less marriageable

It’s not easy being a father when you know your child has a critical illness. I still remember the words of a thalassemia patient’s father when we were in search of a blood donor for his son, “Doctor Sahiba, log to meri shakal dekh ker hi munh pher lete hein ke phir aagaya hamara khoon nikalwane.” (Doctor, now when people look at me, they turn away, thinking that I’m back again to ask for blood.) It’s the same story with Ahsan, a four-year-old child diagnosed with thalassemia at the age of six months. His treatment initially began with blood transfusions every three months which ...

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The day I met a mother of thalassemia inflicted children

It was a usual summer day in Peshawar, back in 2004, when I left my hostel to attend a lecture which was scheduled for the afternoon. The university was at walking distance, so keeping my notebook above my head to protect myself from the sun, I made my way there. I was about to enter the university, when I noticed a woman trying desperately to convince the security guard to allow her onto the university premises, whilst repeatedly wiping sweat off her brow with the corner of her clean, stark white chaadar. She seemed like she belonged to a decent family, wrapped ...

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Every blood donor is a hero, are you?

June 14 is the day the world celebrates ‘World Blood Donor Day’ to honour and encourage those individuals who selflessly donate their blood with no expectations in return. Today, we commemorate this noble cause that helps save millions of lives around the globe. World Blood Donor Day (WBDD) was first observed on June 14, 2004 in Johannesburg, South Africa as a tribute Karl Landsteiner. Landsteiner is a Nobel Prize winner who discovered the ABO blood group system and so we celebrate the WBDD on his birthday to honour his work. The theme of the 2012 WBDD campaign is ‘Every blood donor is ...

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Is a Thalassemia test too much to ask?

As I typed the list of thalassemia centers all over Pakistan, my cellphone started ringing and diverted my attention. On inquiring who was calling, I heard a sad and depressed voice on the other end. A father’s voice. I usually get calls but there was something special about this particular one. The guy got married around two years ago to the love of his life (who was his cousin). Now they have a one-year-old baby… and that baby is a thalassemia major. According to him, no one in their family had this disease, but both of them were thalassemia minor and ...

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Thalassemia: Learn something, will you?

For over four years, Fight Against Thalassemia (FAiTh) has been trying to convey a simple message across to the government: to pass and implement a Pre-Marital Mandatory Tests Bill in the country. This is a simple request for a simple bill and a simple solution to highly complex problems that our society faces today. Even though right now there are no government-based Thalassemia treatment centers, this situation will improve soon as there will soon be as many as seven Thalassemia treatment centers run by the Government of Pakistan. The exact date of when these centers will be setup however, only ...

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No test, no nikkah (Part 2)

After my post “No test, no nikkah”, I have got some appreciation and at the same time some objections as well. Here is the reply to those objections: Several people asked me how they can ask their partners to get tested. “It doesn’t look good,” they said. A friend of mine said “The in-laws might start beating me Ayesha!” and I simply replied, “Just for once think of your generation – that beating won’t be anything then.” Then, there are people who ask me who am I or the government to stop them marrying their love if both are Thalassemia minor. Who said ...

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No test, no nikkah!

Almost every third girl gets married to a guy she doesn’t know, has never met or never talked to before. The guy’s family just saw the girl somewhere, they sent the proposal and if the girl’s family didn’t find anything objectionable then everything is final – the date is fixed, venue decided…and they get married to each other. Now, the happily married couple is expecting a new family member, and when the new family member is born, they get to know that the baby is having a disease called Thalassemia. They go blank. They run to doctors. They try to ...

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World Blood Donor Day: Thanking those who save lives

“Every second, someone in the world needs blood. And every step of the way, you have been there to fulfill that need. Your generosity has been the hope and courage for thousands of those patients who suffer from Thalassemia. Thanks to your support, those with Thalassemia now continue to lead complete and full lives. All barriers have been brought down, and continue to be brought down, and many Thalassemic patients go on to do extraordinary things! It is no doubt that blood is the vital need of all human beings. And this is most true for thalassemic patients. Thank you for saving the ...

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