Born and raised in Kalat, Baluchistan, Rizwan Bashir was a free-spirited child who would spend his days immersed in books and writing stories.
The village lacked basic educational facilities, so his parents would send him and his four brothers to another city for their education. Rizwan was 16-years old when he started feeling a stabbing pain in his leg, which was so unbearable that he could barely breathe. At that time, he was preparing for his 9th-grade examinations and helping his brothers with their studies. His father advised him to take some painkillers to relieve the pain, but the pain would come roaring back worse than ever.
His family was worried about his health and noticed that his pain was affecting his daily routine. They went to a doctor, who told them that he had suffered a leg fracture and required bed rest to recover. The news did not sit right with Rizwan, but he complied nonetheless. After a few weeks with no improvement, the family traveled to a local hospital where the doctors ran tests on him, including an MRI and an X-Ray. Although they confirmed that he did not have a fracture, they still could not find the problem with his leg.
His father borrowed money from friends and relatives to travel to Karachi to find a hospital to get the medical help he needed. The private hospital they attended diagnosed Rizwan with osteosarcoma in his left leg; a type of bone cancer.
Desperate and running low on funds, his family was informed of The Indus Hospital, Korangi Campus in Karachi, Pakistan. The hospital had all the facilities that could help them treat cancer completely free of cost. He was admitted to the Oncology Emergency Department, where he was placed under chemotherapy. The first few months were difficult for Rizwan, as his condition had worsened to the extent that the doctors were contemplating amputating his leg. Despite the shame, he felt at losing his hair due to chemotherapy, the excruciating pain of having rods attached to his leg, and the terror of possibly losing his leg, Rizwan never gave up hope. The doctors worked hard to save his leg and thankfully avoided amputating his leg after performing a successful surgery.
Rizwan soon grew popular with the staff and patients at the Oncology Department and socialized with everyone he met. Doctors and nurses would go out of their way to introduce new patients to him, for they knew that his optimistic attitude and easy manner of talking would help put them at ease. During his time in chemo, he published a small book and won first place in the Global Forum for Teacher Educators Art Activity competition. He is currently completing his last round of chemo and plans to explore Karachi city further and finish his second novella, a psychological thriller called Lady Joker.
When asked if he had any advice for future patients, he says to stay positive, not lose hope, come out of your shell, and be a brave and tough person. Hope had helped him and his family endure their four-year journey, and the now-19-year-old expresses his hope to one day become an oncologist and help patients the way the doctors at The Indus Hospital have helped him.