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Patient Stories

Healing Hamza


Hamza is nine years old today. In his short life, he has been diagnosed with blood cancer, told there is no cure, then brought to the Aga Khan University Hospital, where he underwent six months of cancer treatment, and now he stands at the other side. All free of cancer.

But it was not an easy journey.

The first sign for Hamza's parents that all was not well, was his constant low-grade fever. Then Hamza's mother noticed that his lips and eyes were growing pale. She decided to take Hamza to see a doctor. The doctors prescribed some blood tests and when the results came in, the doctors told Hamza's parents that he had Acute Myeloid Leukaemia, a type of blood cancer that he said could not be cured. The shocking news shattered Hamza's parents. They could not believe what was happening to their lives.

Refusing to give up, Hamza's parents took him to the Aga Khan University Hospital, Karachi to see the University Hospital's childhood cancer specialists. This highly trained and experienced team, led by Dr Sadaf Altaf, said while this form of cancer is challenging, it can still be treated at a specialised cancer treatment facility like the Aga Khan University Hospital. Hamza was put on chemotherapy the same day.

He had severe side-effects from the treatment; he developed breathing difficulties and needed to be put on a ventilator. For seven days, Hamza remained on the ventilator. His condition improved and he was moved to the ICU for the next eight days.

While it was heartening to see their son get the treatment he needed, Hamza's parents were increasingly getting concerned about their ability to pay. They were directed to AKUH's Patient Welfare Offices and The Patients' Behbud Society for AKUH. After completing screening formalities, PBS assured them that all their expenses would be paid. The family could not believe their good fortune.

With the passage of a few weeks, Hamza showed visible improvement. Six months later, his treatment was complete and he was declared free of AML by his doctors.

Hamza's mother cannot forget the trying ordeal they went through. “Thanks to Allah, my son is much better now. He is more active than before. Whenever I see him, I can only feel grateful and thank everyone for all the help we received."

Watch Hamza's story, narrated by his mother and father: Healing Hamza's Blood Cancer (

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