Support Pours In for the Hyderabadi Girl Suffering With Brain Cancer

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Syed Aziz and her ailing sister Sakeena Begum.

Her brother’s story selling pigeon feed to raise funds has drawn queries from within and outside the country but so far no tangible help has come, says her mother

J.S. Ifthekhar | Clarion India

HYDERABAD — Moral support pours in. And so do offers of help. The plight of Syed Aziz, the young Hyderabadi boy, struggling to raise funds for treatment of his ailing sister by selling pigeon feed has touched heart-strings. A good number of people from within and outside the country are reaching out to help meet the medical expenses of his sibling, Sakeena Begum, afflicted with brain cancer.

Many people have taken to Twitter, the microblogging site, to find out the address of the poor family for rendering help. This has definitely lifted the spirits of the mother, Bilqees Begum, who has been running from pillar to post for treatment of her 12-year old daughter. Ketto, the online crowdfunding platform, itself has jumped in. “We would love to help crowd fund for treatment expenses. Could you please share their contact details so that we get in touch with them and provide the required assistance”.

“I would be happy to help this family in whatever way I can. Can I get details of this child”, says Laddu Yadav.

Dr. Abbas Virji from London is ‘deeply moved’ by Aziz’s predicament. “Is there a way we can make a donation directly to the family”, he asks through a mail to Clarion India.

Some Twitter users want to know where the Owaisi brothers are. “Owaisi runs hospitals, schools, co-operative banks. Why don’t they help these people who come under his Parliamentary constituency”, asks Ajay Batchu. There are, of course, some hate tweets too with a few wondering whether this is the only family in India in need of support.

Bilqees Begum talking on phone while her ailing daughter Sakeena looks on

Sakeena’s story and the struggle of her mother and brother is all over social media. Twitterati has expressed concern and tagged the story to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi, TRS Minister K.T. Rama Rao and even film actor Sonu Sood pleading for help for the unfortunate girl. Bilqees, of course, is not aware of all this as she is illiterate.

People have shown a lot of concern and made promises but so far no tangible help has come. “Somebody from Makkah rang up yesterday and took my bank details. I hope he will be sending money”, says Bilqees Begum.

Though she herself suffers from kidney problem and ear infection, this young mother with her ten-year-old son, Aziz, have been selling pigeon feed at the Toli Chowki flyover in Hyderabad for the last two years. Passersby pick up small polythene bags containing jawar grains for Rs. 10 apiece and offer them to pigeons who come in droves. Little do the good Samaritans know what the tiny amount they pay for the grains mean to the mother-son duo.

Small as it is, the Rs.100-odd they earn from their 6 a.m to 9 a.m stint goes for the brain cancer treatment of Bilqees’s second daughter. With her painter husband, Syed Lateef, recuperating from leg fracture, the task of meeting the medical expenses and keeping the wolf from the door has shifted on her and little Aziz’s shoulders. If help comes in she wants to pull out her son from work and send him to school.

Ever since Sakeena was diagnosed with brain cancer, life for this poor family has gone for a toss. With Lateef’s earnings proving insufficient, Bilqees, is forced to work as a domestic hand to make ends meet. The family has run into huge debts of Rs.1.30 lakh towards the cancer treatment of the child. During the last five years Sakeena was taken to various government and private hospitals but everywhere the reply was the same – there was no treatment. But doctors at the Mediciti Hospital gave hope and took up treatment.

Sakeena suffers from high grade Tectal Glioma, a case of paediatric cancer. She got this ailment at the age of seven with bouts of headache, vomiting and fatigue following in a cycle. CT scan and MRI showed presence of excess fluid in the brain region. She was admitted to the Mediciti Hospital where a shunt was inserted surgically to drain the fluid. Luckily the Telangana government footed the hospital bill. But the problem persists. “I vomit three to four times a day and can’t eat solid food”, says Sakeena, who looks frail and famished.

Thereafter, the girl was administered radiation for a month as part of chemotherapy at the Krishna Institute of Medical Sciences (KIMS), Secunderabad. Now for the last three months she is taking Temozolomide capsules. A box of five capsules cost Rs.2,180. “I am thankful to Dr. Gangadhar Vajrala, Radiation Oncologist, for offering this costly medicine free”, says Bilqees. She is also grateful to Dr. Kalyan of Mediciti Hospital for the excellent treatment done by him.

The medical expenses have put a drain on the family’s resources. Even payment of the monthly rent of Rs.4000 for the two-room house at Shatam Nagar in Mohammadi Lines, Golconda, has become difficult. Bilqees keeps stitching clothes to supplement the family income and hopes her husband would get back to work soon.

She is upset with the continuous calls from media persons wanting to know her pathetic story. “People sympathise and enquire but nobody offers help”, she says. Having come to know that the TRS Minister, K.T. Rama Rao, is the right person, she even went to the TRS party office in Banjara Hills recently. But she had to come back disappointed as the minister was not available. Kausar Mohiuddin, Majlis MLA, has made enquiries but so far no help has come her way.

Her troubles have made Bilqees more stronger and resilient. She hopes and wishes somebody would come to her rescue and save her child’s life. She can be reached on phone: 7993538724.

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