Cancer consultant’s daughter, 7, struck down by leukaemia
A CANCER doctor has spoken of his anguish on learning his own daughter had been struck down by the disease at the age of six.
Nadeem Siddiqui, who has spent his career helping cancer patients battle the illness, was devastated when his daughter Ayesha was diagnosed with a rare form of leukaemia earlier this year.
The family, from Newton Mearns in East Renfrewshire, are now looking for a bone marrow donor as well as raising money for a cancer charity.
Mr Siddiqui, 50, who works as an oncologist at Glasgow Royal Infirmary, said: “Never in my working life did I imagine I would have a daughter who had cancer.
“I thought maybe I would get it or my wife would get it but never Ayesha. The youngest patient I have ever had was 17.”
Ayesha, now seven, was diagnosed with a rare form of leukaemia called Philadelphia Positive in April.
She was well enough to return to primary school last week but is receiving chemotherapy – administered by her father – and cannot study full time. Her only hope of a full recovery is to receive a bone marrow donation.
“We then discovered finding a donor would be very difficult,” her father said. “People from ethnic minorities are not as well represented on the register. Ayesha is mixed race – Indian and White British.
“I thought, we won’t be able to get on the register immediately, so we will raise money as well.”
Mr Siddiqui was off work for several months after Ayesha’s diagnosis and his wife Noreen, a 47-year-old lecturer at Glasgow Caledonian University, has also had to take long periods off work.
He said: “I’m still working but because of Ayesha I’ve scaled back. It’s certainly given me a different perspective on things.
“It’s certainly made it much harder to counsel patients, and it makes it much more stressful for me. There’s no relaxation. Previously, I used to go home to relax. Now I can’t go home and switch off. I have to give my daughter chemo.
“I have more insight into a patient’s cancer journey. Everyone who is diagnosed starts their own journey.
“It’s hard as a parent but not as a medic to know there are impediments to treatment. It makes it much more difficult. My patients are very supportive and helpful, a lot of them know about Ayesha now. A lot of my colleagues are helping with fundraising, too.”
Mr Siddiqui said his daughter remained strong in the face of her illness. “She’s a little fighter,” he said. “She deals with everything that’s thrown at her.
“She wants to be normal like all the other children and have schooling, which unfortunately she can’t be at the moment.
“The main problems are tiredness and her appearance changes. She lost her hair and it’s only now starting to grow back.”
Ayesha was delighted last week when she started primary four at Kirkhill Primary School in Newton Mearns.
She still needs a positive bone marrow donor to cure her of the disease.
Mr Siddiqui hopes the money he raises will go towards clearing a backlog of donors who are not on the register.
He raised the cash through fundraising drives, sponsored walks and generous donations
Mr Siddiqui and his wife Noreen have been appealing for donors from within the Asian community in Scotland to come forward and help.
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Wednesday 19 June 2013
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