WORKING at a cancer hospital, and as a volunteer several years ago, I encounter moments of instant connection with people, and the support and courage people provide to each other by virtue of being humans.

Recently I came in touch with Hoorina, who is an exceptionally brave little girl fighting cancer away from her home and parents.

She is under treatment at the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital and Research Centre in Lahore since 2020 for blood cancer. Her amicable nature instantly draws a person towards her and her disarming smile leaves a lasting footprint on one’s heart.

The only time I saw her crying was when the nurse was managing the cannula for subsequent chemotherapy.

As I held her hand, I could feel her fear, and held on a bit more tightly. I encouraged her to focus on the doll I had gifted her, its tiny earrings, and the batteries under its swing, to distract her so she could stop crying. And then it was over and her smile was back.

She is the youngest of five siblings who are all in Peshawar with their mother. Their father is serving in the army and could not accompany her on hospital visits. In this situation, her cousin, who is a student, is her caregiver. Her disease requires prolonged treatment, often lasting two to three years.

Due to the pandemic, the volunteers who used to regularly visit the hospital during summer holidays to cheer up such patients are not available. Who then will come and hold the hands of patients like Hoorina?

I hope the pandemic ends soon, so we can have the volunteers back in hospitals; an initiative that inculcates a sense of empathy in the younger generation.

Mariam Khan

Lahore

SOCIAL MEDIA: The easy access to technology has changed the way of thinking and priorities of youngsters. It is sad to see them taking their education for granted and being increasingly involved in useless social media platforms and mobile applications. They waste their time in uploading weird videos and then waiting for them to go viral. They must understand that the time that is wasted can never be regained. They should adopt healthy activities instead.

Moufique Ahmad

Dadu

MISPLACED STATEMENT: The recent statement of the prime minister about rape victims led to a public outburst. The idea of a dedicated department for probing rape cases and an exclusive helpline for the victims to resort to must not be too far-fetched. Tracking down criminals and suspects, publicly shaming them, and announcing tough penalties cannot be more complicated than tracking down undocumented money-laundering.

Aiman Siddiqui

Karachi

INACTIVE C.B.C: THE two-furlong strip of the first street of Khayaban-i-Muhafiz has remained in a battered condition for years. I have registered several complaints at the Cantonment Board Clifton (CBC) in this regard, but shoddy repairs have led to no good. I recently offered to donate Rs100,000 out of my pension for the purpose if the CBC was falling short of funds, but my offer fell flat. Is somebody relevant listening?

Dr S.M. Moin Qureshi

Karachi

SUCCESSFUL 5G TRIAL: It is heartening to see that the national telecommunication authorities have conducted another successful 5G trial in Peshawar. This successful trial can be a game-changer for the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. They should prepare themselves to make the most of these technologies for their better future. The local companies must also accelerate their pace and equip themselves with the required knowledge, tools and expertise to make the most of this revolutionary technology.

Rana Atif Iqbal

Rawalpindi

Published in Dawn, June 28th, 2021

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