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Spreading solace through service

/ February 14, 2017 /

If the greatest test is to help someone while going through a terrible storm in one’s life, then Sheeba Ameer definitely passed that test with flying colours.

Sheeba, a happy homemaker in Qatar blessed with two lovely children, Niloufa and Nikhil, looked forward to returning to her home state of Kerala when fate dealt her family a cruel blow. Within weeks of returning, her 13-year-old daughter was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia.

Niloufa was admitted to Tata Memorial Hospital in Mumbai, where she underwent bone marrow transplant, the first of its kind in the country. Nikhil donated his marrow to save his sister’s life.

Though the surgery was successful, Niloufa succumbed to the side effects of the treatment 16 years later after a hard struggle. During those harrowing times, Sheeba wrestled with the feelings of helplessness and agony.

When Sheeba came across young, terminally ill patients and their parents, she decided to alleviate their pain by taking part in the activities of the Pain and Palliative Care Society in Thrissur, Kerala. She underwent training to provide solace to those battling cancer.

The social responsibility inculcated in her as a child gave her strength and fortitude to come out of the comfort zone and reach out to financially backward parents who struggled to pay for the expensive treatment of their children. In 2007, with her daughter’s support, she started ‘Solace’, an organisation that provides medicines to terminally ill children and emotional and financial support to their battered families.

When a child is affected with a terminal illness, his/her siblings are equally affected as the attention, energy and care of the parents shift to the suffering child, often resulting in depression or anger. Solace addresses their needs as well. It imparts vocational training to mothers so as to enable them to earn their livelihood even when they take care of their child.

With the support extended by benefactors and Sheeba’s savings, the organisation looks after the needs of about 1,500 children, suffering from Thalassemia, Nephrotic Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome and heart disease.

Seven years after ‘Solace’ was established, Niloufa left the world at the age of 28. However, Sheeba looked beyond grief to be a loving mother to hundreds of young children.

Sheeba is confident that her little angel left this world for a better one and will continue to guide her on this journey of compassion.

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