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Pakistani Boy Receives Gift of Life

Four-year-old Hussain Baloch
A four-year-old Pakistani boy named Hussain Baloch has a new lease on life, thanks in part to VOA’s heartwarming VOA Urdu language radio program My Story.

For most of his life, Hussain has been confined to a hospital bed battling Thalassemia, a rare blood disorder. His family, living in a poor village of Baluchistan, has struggled to find funds to pay for medication, which costs three times the family’s monthly income.

The young boy’s father, Haneef, sent My Story host Shahnaz Aziz a letter describing their plight.

“I was immediately touched by Haneef’s letter,” Shahnaz says. “I became determined to find someone to help the young boy.”

Shahnaz located Dr. Asim Qidwai, founder of the Children’s Cancer Hospital and CEO of the Afzaal Memorial Thalassemia Foundation.

Without hesitation, Dr. Qidwai promised cost-free treatment for Hussain, including regular checkups and travel accommodations for the family.

“The way I treat every sick child is as if they are my own," Dr. Qidwai said during the July 11th episode of My Story (Meri Kahani). "I think about how I would feel if my child was suffering,” he said, explaining why he felt compelled to help Hussain.

Hussain and his father, Haneef pictured with Dr. Asim Qidwai
Hussain and his father, Haneef pictured with Dr. Asim Qidwai
​Listeners to the show were touched by Hussain’s case, so much so that Shahnaz began receiving calls from people wanting to help the young child. One caller wished to donate blood, while another offered to pay for Hussain’s tickets to travel to Karachi. The incredible support from complete strangers illustrates the tremendous impact the program can have.

Shahnaz was recently updated on the young boy’s condition. Hussain has now returned home from his first blood transfusion, with a supply of medication provided by Dr. Qidwai.

“I only heard about angels, but I have met a real angel -- Dr. Qidwai,” Hussain said. Almost in tears, he added, “Thanks to Meri Kahani.”