Oftentimes we have little knowledge of the potential we hold to make a tangible impact in someone’s life and we unintentionally downplay our capabilities to make this change happen. Many times, it is simply because we keep waiting for something huge to happen when in fact, it is the little things that have the potential to make drastic changes.
In my five years of online activism, I have faced this dilemma many times. The question of “is writing or using social media tools enough” has come up far too many times. It is true, social media can be and has been used as a tool for all kinds of campaigns.
During the flood relief work, I came across Salma, a seven-year-old girl, suffering from cleft palate. Thanks to social media, it took only a few hours to find a surgeon who was willing to carry out the surgery, free of cost. Salma is now ready for her second surgery, a lip reconstruction that will mark an end to her ordeal.
Today, I have come across with another request. This time it is Rayan, a three-year-old, in Lahore who is suffering from Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia – a fatal form of blood cancer that causes damage and kills normal cells in the bone marrow, and slowly spreads to other organs. In short, Rayan has ten days to find a potential donor that can help save his life.
The search for a potential donor is ongoing and the campaign has come to Karachi. On February 16 Rayan’s parents, family, friends and volunteers will be conducting bone marrow compatibility tests, which is a simple painless swab test. If successful, the donor would then go through a painless procedure that will allow Rayan a chance to live through this ordeal.
There is nothing more heart-wrenching than watching a child succumb to pain. Nothing hits at the heart harder than the plea of little ones around us. We all have a role to play in ensuring that our younger generation has a better chance at living a healthy life. Children like Salma and Rayan are unaware of the political hogwash we deal with, they only want a chance to live, and we owe it to them as a community.
Despite the ordeal, Rayan’s parents are hopeful of finding a donor on such short notice. They have put their faith and hope in us. Says a note from Rayan’s parents:
“When complete strangers send us messages that they want to help, get tested and organise drives and, that they have Rayan in their prayers and they want to give cord bloods of their own precious babies, that gives us hope.”
This blogpost is an attempt to get Rayan’s plea heard to many who can help save a child’s life. There are many ways to participate, do it by volunteering, by getting tested or by simply spreading the word. We speak of things we can do to bring compassion and hope into our lives and in the life of others around us. This is an opportunity for us to bring about that change.