Last night (9th November) was an incredible night, it was very surreal. I was on Channel S, sky 814, from 6pm until almost 3am fundraising for my treatment.
I have one regret from the night, that my Bengali speaking abilities are not very articulate. My vocabulary of the language alludes me. I did my best to speak it, but then as I struggled to get out what I was thinking and feeling, I eventually resorted to English.
I remember my eyes welling up at different times during the night.
As each phone call came in, live through to the studio, I was hearing the messages of support from ‘strangers’, it felt like I knew them personally. Some patients themselves, some lost a loved one to cancer either a parent, a child, a family member or a friend. I could hear their tears. I could feel the pain people were feeling whilst watching me. Some called me a child, wishing me a recovery. One person called me brave. Some asked me to keep hope, to have faith. Each message was unique and meaningful. One person said they were suffering from cancer themselves and weren’t working but will still contribute in a ‘small’ way. There is no small way. Because each message, each dua (prayer), each contribution, all adds up.
I felt an abundance of love. People requested prayers from me. They said prayers of the one who is sick, gets answered. Insha’Allah, at the moment, it feels like that’s all I can offer; my wholehearted dua’s to everyone. Duas to everyone who has been a part of this story. Some of whom I know of, some of whom I may possibly never know. Each message humbled me.
If I ever need reminding of humanity when so much suffering around the world brings me down, I remember the stories I have gathered during the past 6 or so months. So many stories. I pray that my story can be used for some good. To help change in the cancer narrative. For me to give back in some small way of my own.
Back to last night, it was incredible. The phone lines were constantly busy. There was a constant flow of guests coming live on air with me. There were so many volunteers working behind the scenes, answering calls, making teas, there was the production team, and the chef keeping everyone fed.
Yet when I pause and reflect, the night was possible because of the effort, energy, and love of several people. I apologise for not naming everyone because I am bound to miss someone, and in all honesty I don’t know everyone’s name.
Connecting the dots, the night began in fact a few weeks earlier. Abdul Hai (Camden Councillor) invited Channel S to the event in Parliament with MP Keir Starmer. This resulted in meeting with Farhan bhai (Editor) and Mujahid bahi (Head of Charity) of Channel S who very generously offered me a free fundraising appeal.
At the meeting there was a list of things we needed to do:
- Find a Charity partner
- Film a documentary including footage of me receiving treatment
- Have a guest list for the night
- Call centre volunteers
- Flyers: designed, printed and distributed
- Social Media promotion
Channel S asked Beani Bazar Cancer & General Hospital to be charity partners, who took me on with a vow to do their best. Shab bhai (CEO BBCH) and Tipu bhai (Marketing Director) took me on as their very own brother. They were in constant contact with me. Behind the scenes they worked continuously. They organised a press conference to gain awareness. The trustees, directors, staff all worked to make the evening a success. I am indebted with the time, energy and love they gave, in addition to their financial contributions.
I was blessed with the number of guests who also came along last night. I thank the volunteers on call centre duties who were amazing. They shared very touching stories of the calls they received. People sharing reasons why they were taking part very humbling.
I thank everyone for being involved in various ways for last night. I am humbled, grateful and blessed for the response and continued support. In terms of the total donated, we’ll let you know once that’s been collected and processed. An estimate is around the £35,000 Alhumdullilah.