FIRE­FIGHT­ERS’ GIFT FOR FAISUL

Sabah Fire and Res­cue Dept staff ful­fil wish of leukaemia boy to be fire­fighter for a day

New Straits Times - - News - BRAN­DON JOHN KOTA KIN­A­BALU news@nst.com.my

MUHAM­MAD Faisul Iman, 13, had but­ter­flies in his stom­ach as he waited ea­gerly for the day he could be­come a fire­fighter.

The wheelchair-bound boy, who is bat­tling leukaemia, was so ex­cited that he could not sleep. Yes­ter­day, he woke up at 6am, two hours ear­lier than usual.

Three hours later, Faisul, decked in fire­fight­ing gear, ditched his wheelchair for a mem­o­rable tour on a fire en­gine at Women and Chil­dren Hospi­tal in Likas here.

His dream of be­com­ing a fire­fighter was re­alised, thanks to the Chil­dren’s Wish So­ci­ety (CWS) of Malaysia and the Sabah Fire and Res­cue De­part­ment.

“The hap­pi­ness I feel right now is in­de­scrib­able,” Faisul told re­porters, even as he had dif­fi­culty speak­ing.

Faisul had his first bout of pre­cur­sor B-cell acute lym­phoblas­tic leukaemia when he was 6. This meant he had too many im­ma­ture white blood cells in his blood and bone mar­row. He started chemo­ther­apy at a young age, and has since been in and out of hospi­tal un­der­go­ing treat­ment.

Faisul, from Kam­pung Seri Menanti in Ki­narut, Pa­par, was strong and ac­tive un­til his health de­te­ri­o­rated and he could no longer at­tend school.

This year, he has spent most of the time in hospi­tal and is now on pal­lia­tive care.

His sis­ter, Farah Lyana Yakub, 23, said Faisul, a pupil of SK Ki­narut, dis­con­tin­ued his stud­ies last Septem­ber.

“He is smart and in­ter­ested in his stud­ies. How­ever, due to the side ef­fects of chemo­ther­apy, it is dif­fi­cult for him to re­mem­ber.

“His voice has weak­ened, so he talks slowly.

“To­day, how­ever, I think it is one of his bet­ter days. He is so ex­cited to speak to re­porters and vis­i­tors.”

She said Faisul’s ail­ment did not dampen his spir­its to be­come a fire­fighter. When the hospi­tal per­son­nel heard about his pas­sion, they con­tacted CWS to help grant his wish.

Yes­ter­day morn­ing, a team of fire­fight­ers es­corted Faisul as he sat at the helm of a fire en­gine truck.

Faisul’s fire­fight­ing ex­pe­ri­ence was capped with a sur­prise birth­day party, which he cel­e­brated with the fire­fight­ers, hospi­tal staff, fam­ily mem­bers and friends at the hospi­tal.

De­spite the side ef­fects and ex­haus­tion of the lat­est round of chemo­ther­apy, he put on a brave front as he thanked ev­ery­one for the mem­o­rable day.

“I hope to be­come a fire­fighter some­day so that I can help peo­ple, too,” he said, with a shy smile.

Women and Chil­dren Hospi­tal pae­di­a­tri­cian Dr Sam Chian Hoon said Faisul’s con­di­tion took a turn for the worse af­ter a stronger dose of chemo­ther­apy a few weeks ago.

“Cur­rently, there is no prog­no­sis for re­cov­ery, but we will con­tinue with the treat­ment. Trans­plants are an op­tion, de­pend­ing on his health con­di­tion.”

IZHARI ARIF­FIN PIC BY

Sabah Fire and Res­cue De­part­ment per­son­nel help­ing Mohammad Faisul Iman to han­dle a hose reel in the com­pound of Women and Chil­dren Hospi­tal in Kota Kin­a­balu yes­ter­day.

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