Person of the Year 2016 “HIRA AMJAD ALI“.
It was March 10th, 2016. Hira went to the Agha Khan University Hospital to collect her biopsy report, she had gone under a minor surgery recently to remove a lump on the right side of her neck.
She had been recently engaged three months back in December 2015 and was preparing for her wedding which is to be held in March 2017.
After few moments, the doctor entered the patient lounge and asked Hira to take a long breath and not to worry about anything. The doctor told her that she had been diagnosed with Stage-II Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (Blood cancer in layman’s language). On hearing this her whole life turned upside down.
The first and only thought that stroke her mind was “Am I going to die?” because cancer is a disease through which no one is cured unless you are the chosen one. It is a disease in which people lose their hope. This disease conquers the mind of the victim. This disease keeps on growing and the victim of this disease keeps on dying.
She went home back with numerous questions popping in her head like What? Why? How? When? She walked to her mother with tears in her eyes and told about the biopsy report. Her mother started crying and told her that everything will be fine. Hira didn’t know how to react to her own diagnosis.
No one loves to change when they are satisfied with the way they are living their life. Hira had to accept the change. She asked herself, “Am I going to lose all my hair?”
“You are my lion”, said her dad while kissing her forehead when she went to him for the first time after she had a bald head (side effect of chemotherapy) and cried her eyes out.
She started chemotherapy and very soon she had gaunt cheeks, bald head, no eyebrows, no eyelashes. Cancer changed her life. She tried wigs and head scarfs.
She went through 4 chemotherapy cycles, every cycle consisted of IV medications for 7 hours followed by 100 tablets to be consumed in 5 days followed by 3-5 injections.
She cried herself to sleep for three months every night without break with her mom sitting on the edge of her bed telling her that this will pass with tears in her eyes.
There are some dumb people who make cancer jokes, they don’t even know what a patient suffers.
She became to closer to Allah Almighty. She believed that He gave her strength and courage to fight this battle against cancer. She also fought this battle with the support of her family, fiance and close friend.
She found peace in Namaz and praying the Allah Almighty. Her mother kept telling her that Allah put His most favorite people through His toughest tests.
During this battle, she came to know about the people who were really there for her support when she was suffering and about those who left her in this battle. People change their behavior when you are in hard times.
Besides parents, two people who were always there for her are:
1. Emad Zafar (Who in my opinion is a sports expert and mostly does commentary on cricket and football matches on his twitter.) Hira was engaged to Emad in December 2015. Emad loved Hira when she had no hair, eyebrows or eyelashes.
2. Rohma Farhan with whom Hira used to cry on phone till late night. She supported Hira like a true friend.
Ali Noor from Noori also gave a special message for her.
Then July 12, 2016 came, when this battle ended. She was declared cancer free by her doctor. She went through 2 more chemotherapy cycles as a precaution to be sure that cancer doesn’t relapse.
When I read following tweet, I was like Yesss! Hira is the champion!
Allah Almighty gave her a second shot at life. She wanted to be a better human being and kind to people.
Hira says, “Never lose hope. This life is too beautiful, you only realize this when you’ve seen death from so, so close. Every worry will seem so small after this. Never stop fighting. Never stop surviving. Engage yourself in books, read, inspire, put up a fight and soldier on. You will come out of this stronger, more beautiful – I promise you that. Always remember that it takes courage to accept that your hair does not define your beauty, it’s what within you that describes who you are”.
This champion got featured in Sunday Times on October 9th, 2016.
Hira was called as a guest speaker at Local Congress by AIESEC Karachi where she told her cancer survival story.
Prayers for this #HeroHira.
Prayers for everyone suffering from any sort of disease in any part of the world.
You can follow Hira Amjad Ali on Twitter (@HeeriPeeri).