ALOR SETAR: After surviving two surgeries to fix her congenital heart defect, there is only one thing Nursyafiqah Shahrill Shanizam wants to be when she grows up.
“A doctor,” the 12-year-old said, in a shy yet determined voice.
She wants to save those who are unwell and in pain.
“I know the suffering of heart patients and what they go through. So, I will study hard, become a doctor and save them,” she said when met at the home of her grandfather Md Noor Hashim, 63, at Kampung Baru Tepi Laut near Sanglang, Kedah, about 20km from here.
The SK Ayer Hitam pupil, the oldest of three siblings, underwent two procedures – cardiac catheterisation and ASD (atrial septal defect) occlusion – at the National Heart Institute (IJN) which referred her case to Star Foundation last December.
In the same month her case was brought forward, Star Foundation donated the RM17,500 needed for her surgeries.
Founded in 2004, the foundation is the charity arm of Star Media Group and is charged with helping those in need.
Its board of trustees manages funds – a fair portion coming from The Star – for charity, social and research purposes, with a special commitment to lighten the financial burdens of charity organisations.
Born with pulmonary atresia, Nursyafiqah’s life before her successful operations was a regiment of check-ups at IJN.
Any sport was out of the question, as she would turn blue and gasp for air after physical exertion.
“At first the check-ups were every three months, then every six months. I don’t allow her to carry heavy things or play sports,” said her father, Shahrill Shanizam Azim, 36, who earns about RM600 a month as a fisherman.
Shahrill and wife Norsadasuria Md Noor, 36, were profuse in expressing their gratitude to those who helped their daughter.
They included Nursyafiqah’s “guardian angel” English teacher Zalina Ishak, 40.
“I only knew of her heart defect when I taught her English last August. And I found out she had her first surgery when she was three months old,” said Zalina.
She said the school and its parents-teachers association set up a fund to help Nursyafiqah and her family with the travel and accommodation expenses for her regular check-ups.
Zalina accompanied Nursyafiqah and her family to IJN for the surgery.
“Our school is thankful to the doctors and officers from IJN and Star Foundation,” said Zalina, who was accompanied by fellow teacher Rabiatul Fakihah Ahmad, 37, at the interview.
The aid for Nursyafiqah came from Star Foundation’s Medical Fund Programme.
It supports the underprivileged who suffer from chronic illnesses by sponsoring one-off medical treatment and care, especially for those in need of urgent or costly treatment.
All Malaysians who have no other financial support and cannot afford treatment themselves are eligible.
Benefactors may also make tax-exempted contributions to the fund.
For details, visit http://starmediagroup.my/star-foundation/medical-fun-programme/ or call Star Foundation at 03-7967 1388.