A statue of iconic cartoon character Oor Wullie is to be displayed in a shopping mall to raise awareness of a rare medical condition which killed a teenage boy from Glasgow.
Ahmar Javed was only 13 – when unknown to anyone – he was suffering from arteriovenous malformation (AVM) that caused him to suddenly develop a bleed on the brain.
Ahmar’s parents, Sameena Javed and Javed Akram, had to take the agonising decision to turn off his life support machine ten days after Ahmar suffered the bleed while at a karate class.
After Ahmar died almost two years ago, Mr Akram and Ms Javed launched a fundraising campaign, in association with Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity, called Another Star In The Sky to raise money in her son’s name.
They believe there is not enough research into early diagnosis and treatment of AVM – an abnormal tangling of blood vessels that affects just one in 10,000 people – and there was a lack of bereavement counselling for their family when Ahmar died.
The Another Star In The Sky charity has already raised more than £13,000 with half the money being donated to the Office for Rare Conditions Glasgow at the Royal Hospital for Children and the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, to help fund research into rare illnesses like AVM that killed Ahmar.
Ahmar’s school friends at Castlehead High, in Paisley had been given a statue of Oor Wullie to paint by the Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity. Pupils decided they would paint the statue in Ahmar’s honour and write messages to him on Oor Wullie’s arm.
The statue has now been put on display by intu Braehead in the lower shopping mall as part of the Oor Wullie Bucket Trail.
The other part of fundraising goes to the Child Bereavement UK charity’s Glasgow centre that offers support to bereaved children and families.
Ms Javed said: “We are totally overwhelmed that the Castlehead pupils decided to paint the Oor Wullie statue in Ahmar’s memory and the messages they wrote on the statue are lovely. We’re very proud they still remember him.
“I hope that when people see the statue they might be intrigued by the messages on it and want to find out more about Ahmar. And perhaps they might want to do something to support the work of our charity.”
She added: “I’m hoping that in the future enough research will have been done to find an easy and effective way of diagnosing the condition early.”