May, 2019- Lahore.
‘Life, Blood & Compassion’ started out as the personal journey of a mother, Ammara Farooq Malik, to document the ordeal that her family had to go through when her daughter had to undergo 2 painful bone marrow transplants in Italy in 2007 and again in 2009.
‘Life, blood and compassion’ -the book, is about the challenges faced by ordinary people as patients in foreign countries. Explained in the form of stories. these accounts also discuss the human aspects of parenthood, friendship, love, bruised egos, racism and depression and overcoming blood disorders in the backdrop of communication gaps between people from different ethnic groups. It discusses issues from peacebuilding to immigration and from medical negligence to lack of tolerance.
The book is based on true events in Italy, Pakistan and U.K.
Medical treatment and community engagement as forms of peacebuilding: True stories transcending borders and faith.
How one determined Pakistani mother helped bring the first bone marrow transplant facility in Lahore.
Book by Ammara Farooq Malik, in writing progress.
An effort to help other patients:
Later LBC became a passionate effort to help other patients too. Ammara has been providing free guidance to patients and families of blood disorder since 2009. In 2019, she wants to involve others in LBC so that these humble efforts can multiply.
The book has a name: Life, Blood & Compassion
By Ammara Farooq Malik
July, 2015- Lahore.
Illness is not just about pain. It is about living with the consequences of that disease for the rest of your life. I have been trying to write my first book since the past seven years now. I don’t consider myself to be a great writer (yet) but I really do want to write about what made me who I am today. My daughter has had two bone marrow transplants and my family has had to travel extensively for her treatment and I had to go through tremendously painful periods in my life, seeing my daughter on her death bed not once but several times. My daughter is one of the bravest people I’ve ever met and she is not 12 years old yet.
Now though my daughter’s story has inspired numerous people we know and who found out about us…and though I even started doing research to be able to write my memoir, writing about my most personal moments for others to read was, I realized one of the most difficult projects that I have ever undertaken. What made it harder for me was that my daughter who now understands things a little bit must understand what I am doing and give her consent to share information about her.
I think that I will have to tell her one day that there is nothing wrong with being born different. What she lived through has the potential to give others immense hope. ‘Hope’ that things can work out. I would also like to talk about all the people I learnt from in this episode from my life: the little boy who wanted to be an Italian cook after his successful bone marrow transplant, the queer nurse who was always on the go and always with a big smile, the Pakistani couple who helped my family understand about Italian hospitals, my next door neighbour in the isolation ward with whom I used to exchange Barbie dvds with for my daughter…the Italian lady teacher in the hospital who liked me for wanting to learn Italian…the list is long and can make several chapters in a book.
I have moved on by trying to have a normal life now…but the thought that we lived through moments that were nerve wrecking, beautiful, frightening, inspirational, sad and even heart warming, and that the memory of those moments may be lost forever, did disturb me.
I also felt that everything happens for a reason. I am discussing this aspect with examples in my book. For now, I can tell my reader that yes, I am finally writing my book, no longer as a memoir but as a memoir/ non-fiction book highlighting several issues. I’ve decided on a working title for now:
‘Life, blood and compassion’
The very personal memoir I had written is still safe with me. It is roughly 20,000 words. But the intended readership is now only my daughters. In years to come, they will be able to understand who their mother was before she wrote this book.
For ‘Life, blood and compassion‘ that is in the process of being written, I need the support of my friends. I hope that what I write has the potential to help someone else, be they patients, doctors, parents, young individuals or even seasoned critics of society.