Saturday, November 26, 2011

This loss was a sure win...

Ayesha and Salman's last picture together

I became aware of 23-year-old Salman Mehmood's existence on October 19, 2009. That was also the day he stopped being. Prominent Pakistani bloggers had been posting updates about Salman's condition, who was fighting it out at a Karachi hospital, and praying for a miracle.

Salman, a Thalassemia major and founder of, blogged and tweeted about his condition to make sure no other patient suffered the way his family and he did. Salman had lost elder brother Nauman to Thalassemia, and Ayesha, his youngest sibling, was also living off blood transfusions.

I checked Salman’s blog "Salman Namah" and Twitter timeline shortly after his death. It was hard to believe that he had ceased to exist.

"Dear Diary: Well, right now my mom and sis are giving me ‘pittay’ that I’ll have 12 kids. Khair… I tweeted after three days. Feels weird, it’s like riding a bike after 10 years.

“Dear Diary: Umm hi again. I am very tired right now (it’s 11:23 pm). I have not been very fortunate with sleep this week. But that’s normal...Khair.”

I soon became addicted to Salman’s little sister Ayesha’s blog too – who decided to carry forward her brother’s mission. I recently learnt other details – such as their trip to Chennai in search of a cure shortly after Nauman’s death in 1999. After spending three months at Apollo Hospital the family returned empty-handed, but packed with information on Thalassemia, which was unavailable in Pakistan then.

In 2003, Salman decided to spread awareness about Thalassemia and launched even as he checked in and out of the hospital for “different problems”. Their father’s untimely demise hit them in 2007. However, the biggest blow was Salman’s eventual death due to meningitis.

“It was the biggest loss to our family. It was really hard to get back to life. But as his mission was to spread awareness I took up the responsibility and started managing the website. I also started arranging blood camps and free screening camps, started writing more blogs….” says Ayesha.

Ayesha manages too, Salman’s last project to generate funds for needy patients. She has also started “Sponsor a child programme” and has sponsored five children in just a year.

Each year, 5,000 to 6,000 children are born with Thalassemia in Pakistan, yet there is no government-aided facility for such patients.  


  1. Hi nice post, I know Ayesha since her brother's death and no doubt she is amazing person and a good friend. i wish her prosperity and health.


  2. I knew salman since 2000. He was hard working and a sensitive soul. He was a keen observer, quick learner and genius with computers and websites. He would never say "NO" and offered a lot of help to me in person regarding many online projects. May he find highest place in paradise.

  3. I met Salman and Ayesha online in 2003 and it was Salman's site where I turned to learn the basics of thalassemia. We have always supported each other's sites and even had some collaborative efforts. I miss Salman a lot. Ashish Vazirani, Lisa Cammilleri and Salman Mehmood were the pioneers of the online world of thalassemia and we owe them all a great debt. I have been so pleased with the way Ayesha has carried on for her brother, further expanding his mission. Treatment for thalassemia in Pakistan has advanced much in the past 8 years and these siblings have played a key role and the nation of Pakistan owes them a big thank you.

  4. Nayyares, Shoaib, Andy, thank you for your comments.

  5. I met salmaan and ayesha in 1998 when they were kids and at the same time i knew they would make a difference to the society and indeed they made it,it is pleasure knowing them again what they have done for the people,while i miss salman i would only request the almighty to give peace and harmony to the holy soul.

  6. Thank you for highlighting this. I would like to thank these courageous kids for their constant efforts. I hope his soul has found peace - Ameen!

    Also thank you to India for helping give the kids so much information to bring back to Pakistan. Just goes to show how much we can learn from India. I wish we have more exchanges like this with Indian knowledge helping and vice versa.


  7. I have read that marriage between cousins which is an accepted thing in Pakistan is a huge contributor to thallasemia and other such genetic diseases... May be families should get their children tested before getting cousins married to each other....

  8. Hello! I could have sworn I've visited this blog before but after looking at a few of the posts I realized it's
    new to me. Anyways, I'm certainly delighted I came across it and I'll be bookmarking it and checking back

    Here is my blog post;