The Ongoing Struggle of Afsheen: A 9-Year-Old Pakistani Girl with a Rare Spinal Disorder
In 2017, the world was introduced to Afsheen Kumbar, a 9-year-old girl from Mithi, Sindh province, Pakistan, who captured our hearts with her remarkable story. Afsheen, like any other child, was born into this world with dreams and hopes. However, her life took an unexpected turn when she fell while playing in the field at the tender age of 8, complaining of pain in her neck. At first, her parents, burdened by financial struggles, sought the help of a traditional healer in their village, believing that the symptoms were nothing to be overly concerned about.
As the years passed, Afsheen’s condition deteriorated, and her head tilted to a severe 90-degree angle, rendering her unable to hold her head straight. This deformity subjected her to ridicule and social exclusion from her village. Many superstitious individuals even saw her condition as divine retribution for sins committed in a previous life. Throughout her childhood, Afsheen had no friends, finding solace only in the company of her parents and five siblings.
Afsheen’s daily life became a continuous struggle as she relied on the assistance of those around her for the simplest activities, from eating to bathing. In February 2018, a sponsor stepped in to facilitate an examination at Agha Khan University Hospital in Karachi. Unfortunately, due to family commitments at that time, her surgery was postponed. Medical experts later revealed that her recovery chances after surgery were only 50%, causing her family to contemplate the decision.
Months passed without any communication regarding Afsheen’s medical appointments. Her brother attempted to contact the sponsor, but all efforts went unanswered. As a result, Afsheen’s family faced financial difficulties and were forced to keep her at home for over a year without proper medical care. Her brother made the selfless decision to quit his job to care for his sister, understanding that her needs were a top priority. Local medical facilities were insufficient to treat Afsheen’s condition, leaving her family desperate for help.
Afsheen’s brother tirelessly seeks assistance from local authorities and the government to provide his sister with a chance at a more normal life. Afsheen’s story serves as a poignant reminder of the enduring challenges faced by those who are marginalized due to their health conditions and the power of collective compassion and support to change lives for the better.