The journey of an energetic, vibrant, young fighter came to an end early this week. Itrat Khan, 18, born and brought up in the narrow lanes of downtown Nawakadal, was fighting cancer for last two years. She not only had the courage to brave the disease but had the valour to give strength to other patients who were admitted with her in the hospital. Daughter of a carpet weaver, Itrat was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (Blood cancer) when she was preparing for her Class 10 examination. The news was a shock for her but soon she recollected herself and accepted it as a fact of life. “When I got admitted, I saw more critical patients than me,” she said with a twinkling smile, “so I automatically got the courage.”
An athletic, Itrat before her diagnosis wanted to be a lawyer but now, if survived, desired to dedicate her own life to the cancer patients in Kashmir. She was concerned about the absence of psychological counselling of the cancer patients in the valley’s hospitals and believed that it helps the patient to fight with more strength. After diagnosis, she said, she tried to understand all the symptoms and treatments about her disease from internet. Filling the void she did it for other patients as well. Had it been from the hospital staff, it would have been more effective and valuable for her, she believed. Being bold, talkative and sensitive about the cancer patients Itrat said, she made it a point to talk to other patients while she was admitted in the hospital. Fighting the disease for two years she had comforted herself with it, remembering her dosage calendar orally. Rest of her life was scheduled around this calendar.
Itrat was her parent’s lone child and they did everything to make her survive. Early this month, the doctors at SKIMS advised to go for Stem cell Transplantation. For this she had to move outside the state and needed Rs 20 Lacs. For a carpet weaver it was an impossible task to arrange such huge amount. So, Itrat decided talk to media and engage philanthropist across valley and outside as well. Incidentally, she got the HLA match donor as well, in a short period of time. The availability of the donor made her hopeful that she may survive but God had different plans.
She passed away even before moving to Delhi and the fighter was laid to rest. She fought courageously and became inspiration for many others.
May her soul rest in peace, Aameen!
– Riyaz ul Khaliq