Meet Iqra

Iqra is 19 months old. She sits on the bed without a smile and without energy. Her mother, Khadija, comforts her daughter but this is no place for a child. Despite this being the childhood cancer ward at Bangaldesh’s Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) hospital, there are no signs of childhood as many of us know. The faded cartoon posters are the only indication that this could be a space where children should be.

Khadija and Iqra have been staying at BSMMU, which is supported by World Child Cancer, for four months now. This is one of just nine government hospitals equipped to provide care for children with cancer in Bangladesh, despite over 6,000 children expected to develop cancer this year.

“We miss our home. It is one thing being unwell when you are in the comfort of your own home, family and friends but it is even more challenging being here.”

Khadija and her daughter travelled over five hours by train and by bus to reach hospital. The journey is long and arduous but is even more challenging given Iqra’s cancer, but the family had no choice but to make the journey to ensure Iqra received the treatment she desperately needed.

World Child Cancer is working to train healthcare professionals in Bangladesh to give children like Iqra a faster route to better treatment.  By training healthcare professionals in rural communities, we can bring a better quality of care closer to home for families like Iqra’s.

The journey to hospital was challenging enough but the emotional impacts of childhood cancer are evident in the worried look on Khadija’s face even before she starts to speak;

“I was so happy when my daughter was born, it brought great joy to our lives but this feeling only last six months until she developed a fever.”

The family had to saved for a month to gather enough money to make the journey to hospital. During this time Iqra’s condition has worsened and was no longer able to sit upright.

World Child Cancer supports some of the poorest and most disadvantaged families in the world by covering the costs of essential treatment and providing emotional support to families like Iqra’s. However, being told your only child has cancer is something no mother should go through;

“I felt nothing but pain when I was told my only daughter had cancer. What am I supposed to do but feel pain? Iqra is strong and she gives me strength, but I worry she is getting weaker. She was such a beautiful girl when she was first born.”

After four months at hospital, the doctors and nurses at BSMMU are doing their utmost to provide Iqra with the care and comfort she needs to overcome her cancer, but her mother believes her condition is worsening.

“The hospital is not comfortable. I stay there but I’m very weak, the people are very ill and are also facing a huge struggle. There are always babies crying, it hurts me to hear them and it’s heart-breaking to see my daughter like this.”
 
World Child Cancer is working to give children with cancer, just like Iqra, the Gift of Growing Up. Children of today, like Iqra, are the leaders and pioneers of tomorrow. Many children are robbed of their future each year by curable forms of cancer but with your support we can change this.

Donate today and you can help train more healthcare professionals, empower local nurses and support children and families just like Iqra’s. 

“When Iqra was first born I had dreams of her growing up to become a doctor but now I don’t know. I just want her to recover and I pray that Allah can save her.”