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  • Writer's pictureSaira Sufi


I decided it had been too long since I went to Jenny Cakes and so I made a plan to pick up some Hadi Cakes and then head over to the NIH. As I showed my NIH badge and parked at the Children's Inn, it felt like I was just going to go to Hadi's room like I used to. Yes, I still have my badge and will use it for as long as possible so I don't have to have my car searched. Thank you again to all of you who visited and had to deal with security and in turn, figured out the best location to hide an apple crisp serving knife. And yes, I shouldn't have parked at The Children's Inn but I figured it was alright because Zakaria provided hours of entertainment for their staff. Walking into the Clinical Center was interesting. Did the front desk gentleman wonder why he hadn't seen me in awhile when he said his usual hello? Then stepping foot into 1NW and seeing the familiar yellow gowns. It then sort of felt like Cheers when everyone yells, "Norm!" It was great seeing familiar faces who knew Hadi and saw him through his journey. I finally got to see the Duke fan nurse who reminded me how she wrote down Hadi's predictions for last year's Super Bowl and then wrote "Go Blue Devils" on his white board and Hadi was not pleased. The nurses were very happy that I brought them Hadi Cakes but in all honesty, it's a small token of appreciation for how they cared for Hadi. I remember when the same Duke fan had to go throw down some sass when they were taking too long for Hadi to have an ultrasound of his tummy. Hadi quietly said, "I like my nurses, they look out for me." I then decided I should go up to the ICU. Those third floor chairs outside the ICU, I saw the faces of the caregivers and family members and it hit a little too close to home and I thought maybe I should just turn around but I told myself I would not let the NIH become off limits. Well, as I felt like Norm yet again with the ICU nurses saying my name...not Mom, not Mrs. Rasheed but Saira, I looked over and saw another mom whose child was on the bed next to her and I listened to her ask the doctor ask if she should come out or if he was going to come in and I saw myself in her. I remembered just wanting answers, I remember not knowing what to ask and being so frustrated. So, after I said thank you to "Dr. Patagonia Vest" and I hugged "Dr. Socially Awkward" (yep, I nicknamed a lot of the doctors), I looked at the mom in her chair and told her to come to me and I gave her a hug and said, "from one mom to another". I hope she heard the voice in my head saying that it is a club ya never ever wanna be part of (I kinda now wanna read The Babysitter's Club) but you must know that every member of this club understands and it sucks beyond belief but these hugs help. I also thanked "Dr. Patagonia Vest" for making sure he did everything possible for Hadi by making that last trip to Cincinnati happen. He looked at me and said he had lost a son in the NICU and so he understood...he also said time heals but it will be years. He said it in a way that only "Dr. Patagonia Vest" could and I saw him in a whole new light. Dr. Socially Awkward was putting on his yellow gown before he realized I was standing by him, he finally looked up and said, "Oh, hey! How are you?" and all of the times that he talked to me in a way that needed to be translated shifted to me realizing how much he cared. I gave my child to medical research and the NIH and though he is not physically here, I know my Hadi would have his own opinion about "Dr. Patagonia Vest" and he would want to make sure funding is provided to ensure a Dr. Young Brilliant Jayhawk (he would probably also want to make sure she could solve a Rubix cube) could follow through on finding a cure for Aplastic Anemia.

Oh, and obviously I used the credit that a good fellow Jayhawk fan from Kensington gave me at Jenny Cakes to purchase some additional items. Frosted chocolate brownie, anyone? Man, the woman brought me Cadbury, started a tab for me at Jenny Cakes and donated to the Hadi Abdur Rasheed Research Fund. Yeah, we like her.

I donated to the Hadi Abdur Rasheed Research Fund because I know there is an effective and safe cure to Aplastia Anemia waiting to be uncovered. The only way to get to the cure is to have fresh and diverse minds clearing the weeds and hotly pursuing that cure. Research is key to uncovering the cure and funding is key to getting research done! So I give what I can whenever I can in honor of Hadi's fight to make sure all the Aplastic Anemia warriors are able to shake their booties free of blood disease! -Maryamm Muzikir







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