The Hindustan Times Trailblazer Award: Syed Rafath Parveen (posthumously)
A cute, bubbly and lively girl, Syed Rafath Parveen was the apple of her dad's Syed Ahmad Ali Shah's eye. She became a hero in her death and transformed six lives. She was born in 1978 and was a bundle of extreme joy for her parents. Rafath was bold, courageous and a voracious reader, right from the beginning, a go-getter. She felt very passionately about being an educator and pursued degrees such as M.ed and M.Phil.
A selfless servant to society: In her life, she devoted herself to imparting education. She taught in many schools spanning continents and believed that education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world."
Her teaching career took her from Delhi Public School, Mathura Road to Delhi Private School, Ras Al Khaimah, UAE. Maninder Jit Kaur, a longtime friend and colleague from DPS Mathura Road expresses how Rafath used to stay back in school to teach underprivileged students and dreamt of building a NGO one day.
41-year-old Syed Rafath Parveen was back in New Delhi for the winter holidays which she planned to spend with her husband, Shaikh Salim Durrani and her two sons, Arsh and Aman. Professional commitments prevented them from living together. For the past one year, she had been working in Dubai and she was happy to be back and looked forward to spending time with her family. Little did they know that this time would be the last time they would be spending together. He feels organ donation has ensured that his wife continues to live on.
It all began with a developing headache leading her to suffer a brain aneurysm and the doctors declared her brain dead. But even in her death, she managed to save four lives. Her heart was harvested in Bhairav Singh, 56, an Assam Rifles havildar from Uttarakhand. Rafath’s kidney was transplanted in a 37-year-old female patient from Jharkhand and liver was transplanted in a terminally ill female patient from Delhi and her second kidney was transported to Artemis Hospital, Gurgaon.
Organ donation is a gift of life that can help ill patients live healthy, happy lives. It’s a known fact that funerals are gut-wrenching. Yet, a final gift can save lives and bring healing to other families, a positive can come out of the pain. Rafath’s family was motivated by the prospect that something positive could come out of the irreparable loss they had just suffered. The fact that someone else would have a better life and that in a way, their family member would live on, made both father and husband give their consent to the donation. The idea of paying life forward, and having something beautiful come out of their tragedy, is certainly compelling. It can be something encouraging to cling to in those first difficult days, months, even years.
Her father says, "We as a family, would call our daughter a hero because she is a hero to us. Her legacy will live through others who have received the organs. A piece of her lives inside them. We have that sense of peace knowing that she still lives on."
There is no greater act of compassion and courage on part of this family and this act has inspired six other organ donations in the same hospital in Delhi. The medical staff has greatly appreciated their gesture of donation.
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