While the current news is filled with Shiv Sainiks’ antagonism towards Pakistan and it’s supporters in Mumbai, there is another group in the same city which went all out to help a Pakistani girl in her treatment for Wilson’s Disease. 15-year-old Karachi resident Saba Tariq Ahmed and her mother were in Mumbai for 49 days due to the hard work of some Indians, so Saba can be treated for her disease.
What is more, the group contributed almost Rs 13 lakh to finance Saba’s treatment for Wilson’s Disease, which results in poisonous accumulation of copper in the body.
Saba was treated at Mumbai’s Jaslok Hospital and left for Karachi on Monday afternoon, almost a few hours after the Shiv Saniks attacked event organizer Sudheendra Kulkarni with black paint for organizing a book launch event for a former Pakistan Foreign Minister. Talking about Saba’s treatment, Jaslok Hospital CEO Dr Taran Gainchandani said:
“Saba and her mother, Nazia, boarded an afternoon flight for Karachi. They were extremely happy about how well the treatment worked for Saba,”
Last time Saba was in India for treatment, unfortunately the treatment had not worked for her as she had not responded well to the prescribed medicine. That time, too, Indian citizens had reached out to her and had helped her out financially.
An NGO, Bluebells Community, had raised Rs 7 lakh from Mumbaikars to help Saba at that time but unfortunately the treatment had not worked. What is more, Saba’s condition had deteriorated in Karachi and the teen needed to come back, as she needed a change of medication, as well as physiotherapy to regain her movement.
Rushing to her aid, more Indians stepped in to help Saba and this time raised nearly Rs 13 lakh. Recalling the time, Shabia Walia of Bluebells Community said:
“When Saba’s condition started worsening on her return to Karachi in May, Nazia contacted me, seeking help. We spread Saba’s story so far and wide that we got an American NGO, Rachel and Drew Katz Foundation, contributing Rs 4 lakh and a London-based NGO promising free supply of medicines.”
An online crowd-funding effort started on Independence Day to collect Rs 10 lakh for a three-month treatment with an alternative medication that is not freely available in India or Pakistan. Rising to the occasion, many Indians came forward and contributed open heartedly.
On August 24, Saba returned to Mumbai but was so weak that she was wheelchair-bound, could not speak and had tremors and abnormal involuntary movements due to the severity of the disease.
Recalling the time Dr. Nagral, said:
“We started her on physiotherapy as well as the alternative drug, Trientine (which helps remove copper accumulation from the body). Saba is on two capsules a day, but it should be stepped up to five soon.”
While the journey ended up smoothly for Saba, Dr Nagral recalled how Nazia had expressed her concern over coming to India initially:
“Nazia said she had been warned that things would not be smooth in India, and she was happy that her fears did not come true. She said Mumbai had been full of warmth and happiness for her and her daughter.”