ISLAMABAD: ‘Should I rejoice that we’ll soon have a thalassaemia bill … or should I be sad that Salman isn’t among us to celebrate this news?’ wrote Ayesha Mehmood on her blog.
Ayesha is the sister of an unsung hero, late Salman Mehmood, who was running a website for the awareness of thalassemia patients.
After four days on ventilator, Salman succumbed to spinal meningitis at the Aga Khan University Hospital in Karachi on Monday.
Salman, also a thalassemia patient, was successfully running a website (www.thalassemia.com.pk) for the past few years from his home in Karachi.
The site was Salman’s contribution to spread the word about thalassemia – information otherwise not easily available.
‘We intended to create a general, massive awareness about the illness and to motivate people to support thalassemia patients’ Ayesha, also a thalassemic patient, told Dawn.
‘Salman was always on his toes to let the people know about the disease and was very social among internet users across the world and was managing the bread and butter for the family,’ 22-year-old Ayesha said.
She said: ‘The idea of developing an online medium was to facilitate people and families with thalassemia while all the information and support came from Salman.’
‘My father died few years ago while our elder brother also expired when he was 17 years old who was suffering from thalassemia, and now we are only two sisters and our mother’ she said.
The family is living in Garden West area in Karachi with no one to look after us.
‘Salman has done some awesome work and now I will continue his mission so we can save lives of many in future,’ she said.
Around 4,000 people from different countries have posted condolence messages and praised the efforts of Salman for creating an online awareness campaign with limited resources.
Ayesha asserted: ‘If we want to save our future generations, the government should make thalassemia tests mandatory for couples wishing to marry.’
Badar Khushnood, Pakistan’s Google representative, also a fan of late Salman, said: ‘He was a role model for the Pakistani youth and was a young entrepreneur. He has started earning from home through his website and without letting anybody know about his disease.’
‘I just learnt about him with his nick name – skdev – and also appreciated his work by commenting on his blog. Later, we met in a conference; Salman was a bright Pakistani as his work was truly commendable and he had helped.’