As the founder of the House of Charity, Hashmat Effendi’s efforts have contributed in helping hundreds of thousands of suffering children worldwide. Starting humanitarian work at a very young age, she soon realized that this was truly her passion. Hashmat Effendi’s experiences in charitable work have been persistent all throughout her life. At a young age, Effendi became known for her commitment to serve people. As a child on her walks home from school, she use to distribute vitamins, clothes to the needy children in her area. She would also bring poor children home with her to bathe and feed them. As she grew older her charitable contributions increased, her efforts went into volunteering at orphanages, teaching poor girls to sew, and distribute food, candies and books. In recognition of her services she received her first award in 1976 for being ‘The Most Helpful Student.’ Effendi received numerous awards throughout her adolescence. Nevertheless, what is more important is that she has made a positive difference in the lives of many children. “I believe all the children we have helped and will help are our own children, they just happened to be born in different homes.” Said Hashmat Effendi.
After working with Burn victims for over 20 years I have seen how fast life can change. I have experienced seeing children play happily in their courtyard and the next moment accidentally burned by Fire, Hot water or simply slipping in a hot pot of milk. Never thinking that my life would change in a moment as well.
On August 2015, I was on one of my usual Medical Missions to Pakistan, very healthy as always, I self-diagnosed myself with breast cancer. After that; a mammogram, an ultrasound, CT scan, PET scan, video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery and biopsies I received the diagnosis of triple negative grade 3 breast cancer.
It is impossible to explain how I felt; the fear gripped me tightly and began to squeeze me in its hands. I had no family history of cancer, I was healthy with no other health issues so I tried to convince myself that it wasn’t real, but it was real. My family, friends and health professionals assured me that I would be fine, there is a cure and …… BUT it didn’t help I slowly started to realize that I have cancer and I didn’t know what would happen – ONLY GOD knew. It felt like it a death sentence. A breast cancer diagnosis turned my world upside down 16 chemo infusions, 37 radiation sessions, 5 emergency room admissions, lumpectomy, vocal cord paralysis and then correction surgery, fatigue, mobility difficulties, pain, depression and fear. Cancer took so much from me mentally, physically and spiritually that there was nothing left. It scared me when looked into the mirror unable to recognize that hairless woman looking back at me. Yesterday, I was a normal person had everything going for me and today I’m working hard to live. What a roller coaster ride! After 2.5 years of a breast cancer marathon I am a happier person blessed to be alive!, Now I am working on what has always been my passion of helping children in need with more commitment, dedication and passion!