“After 6 months with leukemia, I could not walk, because I could not feel my feet. I saw children from my window while they were playing, I could not play with them because of illness. However, I am fighting with leukemia, and I can win. I want to be a doctor when I grow up. Because I am ill, I want to help all children.”
Asmar Alizade is 9 years old. She has been fighting leukemia for 7 years. Her mother Aynura Alizade said that Asmar feels very bad when she is on the bus. She uses a protective mask, and everyone looks at her strangely.
“In 2010, we learned that Asmar had leukemia. After 4 months treatment in Azerbaijan, we went to Russia. We did not have any money, so we came back, and continued treatment in Azerbaijan. Asmar suffered a lot. After taking drugs, she started feeling very bad. A doctor came and said that Asmar was in a very bad condition. But I still have hope that she will recover. I talked to one Turkish doctor and tried to get him involve. One day, the doctor came to discuss the results of a bone marrow test. After analysis in Turkey, they said that the situation is not so serious. I always prayed for her. She was saying during anesthetic: ‘Mom, do not pray, I am ok.’ She was very strong; she always used her protective mask. In Azerbaijan, doctors said situation was very bad, but Turkey doctors said the opposite. After that, Azerbaijani doctors also helped us a lot.”
“Why is everyone looking at me strangely?”
“Asmar always asked me: ‘Mom, why is everyone looking at me strangely? Do I have a bad illness?’ After chemotherapy, she became angry, but after a few minutes, she started to smile. When we went to hospital for chemotherapy, we knew that she will became bald, so we took her to the hospital completely bald. Then her hair started to grow and fall out. She always asked me a question from in front of the mirror: ‘Mom, when my hair will grow?’
She went to school 1 year late
“Because of her illness, she went to school 1 year late. I was very worried because she was hardly used to being with children. One day I cried in the hospital while waiting results of tests. Asmar was on my lap. She started to pamper me and said: ‘Mom, do not cry, I am recovering.’ After that, I never cried again. During these times, drugs were very expensive. One day, I went to the pharmacy. I met their headman and said: “‘My girl is seriously ill. I need drugs.’ He gave them free and said when I wanted I can bring my money”.
My son could not have a childhood
“We always protected Asmar so she wouldn’t fall. We paid a lot of attention to her. My son was distant from me because of it. He said we were always in a hospital. Actually, he was right. He thought we did not love him. Then problems were solved and now he pays attention to his sister.”
“I have advice for parents. Be strong”
“When I talk to parents, I always say: “Please, be strong”. It does not matter if illness is very serious or not. Our people think that if you have cancer, you will die. Because of that, they do not do anything. Cancer is the type of illness that if you think positively, you might recover. When I did not have any support, Mehriban Baghirova always helped me.”
According to statistics, Azerbaijan 300 children are registered with a diagnosis of a malignant blood disease. Baghirova, who is the leader of “The Fight against Leukemia Public Union”, has the disease herself.
“Our organization was created in 2016, but we started to work back in 2009. At that time, I learned that I have leukemia. I decided to be head of this organization, because many people do not know what leukemia is. Are you going to live or not? Then we started to work. Our organization does not only help children, we also help adults and teenagers. However, we work most with children because they have a better chance to survive this illness. We organize charity events, and then we buy drugs with this money.”
According to the government program adopted in 2016, The State will provide patients who suffer from malignant diseases with medicine and blood, in the years 2017-2021.