This is the first time CHAS has run a campaign of this kind.
Children’s Hospices Across Scotland (CHAS) has launched its first ever Ramadan campaign to raise awareness of the charity’s work within Muslim communities and to encourage donations during the 30-day long Islamic celebration.
The charity already supports a number of Muslim children who have life-shortening conditions and is keen to reach even more families who need its help.
A number of family stories will be shared as part of the CHAS Ramadan campaign with a main focus on the Hussain family from Glasgow whose daughter, Sabeel was cared for at Robin House, one of charity’s hospices based in Balloch, West Dunbartonshire.
Sabeel was born with a rare condition called Pompe disease which causes muscle weakness, difficulty breathing and also severe organ damage.
Sabeel’s mum Saiqa lost her first born son to the disease when he was only five months old so was heartbroken when she found out her precious baby girl also had the cruel condition.
Saiqa said: “When Sabeel was born in 2012, she was the girl I had always dreamt of. I was the only girl in my family so I had always desperately wanted a wee daughter.
“I didn’t believe the doctor when he told me Sabeel had Pompe disease because she was feeding well but then he showed me her x-rays and told me her heart was badly affected and that she was on the verge of heart failure. I was absolutely devastated.”
The family were referred to CHAS when Sabeel was three years old and started visiting Robin House regularly, enjoying time together as well taking part in days out. The staff gave Sabeel the vital medical care she needed and put on her favourite arts and crafts activities, calling her the ‘glitter queen’ as she left a trail of glitter wherever she went.
Sabeel and her family continued to visit Robin House for many years but as she got older, sadly her condition worsened so the hospice extended the family’s stay to three nights every month. But in 2020, Sabeel deteriorated and just as the country went into lockdown, the family came to Robin House one last time.
Saiqa said: “The last few hours of Sabeel’s life were filled with love. I sat quietly by my daughter’s bedside, whispering words of comfort. I needed her to know I was there, holding her close, just like when she was a cuddly baby.
Sabeel died in Robin House on Mother’s Day 2020. She was just 17 years old.
The campaign launched on the 22nd March and will run for six weeks finishing on 5th May, featuring stories of several other Muslim families CHAS has supported.
CHAS fundraising campaigns co-ordinator, Charlie Leavy, said: said: “We are proud to launch our first ever Ramadan campaign following consultation with Muslim staff, volunteers, families and community groups.
“We know from the CHiSP3 study we commissioned in 2020 that children from a South Asian background are more likely to have a life-shortening condition than those from a white background.
“As a charity committed to reaching every child in Scotland with a life-shortening condition we hope we can raise awareness of CHAS services within Muslim and Muslim South Asian communities during the month of Ramadan as well as diversify our supporter base at the same time.”