During my summer vacations, I had the opportunity to visit Pakistan and volunteer at Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital in Lahore. I was especially touched by spending time with children who were being treated in the chemotherapy and inpatient areas. All the children were very happy to see the volunteers. Even if the patients could not speak the same language, it was evident that they were delighted to be in the presence of volunteers and they were very happy to do such simple things as playing luddo or coloring with us.

A lot of the parents are very stressed out, so they are happy to talk to volunteers to help them take their minds off the current ordeal. Before cancer diagnosis, their children used to be very vibrant. It is difficult for them to see their kids without energy and joy now. We as volunteers consider it our duty to add some colour to their day; talk to them, cheer them up and play with them—just as any healthy child deserves.

The best part of the volunteering experience is to make the children laugh. It’s especially rewarding when a shy child opens up and shares a story. Volunteering at Shaukat Khanum Hospital was very fulfilling for me. I believe this institution is highly worthy of receiving your support. Please consider supporting the cause in any capacity you possibly can or at least remember these patients in your Duas. Your support is certainly going for a very worthy cause.

MINAHIL AFTAB KHATTAK,

Florida, USA.