Rebika and daughter Nazifa
A mother’s story
By Arshia Riaz
Find out how one Birmingham mother copes with the strain of looking after a sick child.
Nazifa is a BBC WM Kidney Kid
Rebika Alam from Sheldon is just like any mother, trying her best to juggle her family life with other commitments. But unlike many other parents, she has something preying on her mind every day - her daughter’s health.
Her daughter Nazifa is six-years-old and is a renal patient at Birmingham Children’s Hospital. Rebika has to take her daughter to the hospital three times a week for dialysis.
Nazifa was five-years-old when she was diagnosed, Rebika explains:
Nazifa on dialysis
“It all happened suddenly last November just after I had my baby …she kept on growing bigger… in the end the doctors said her kidneys don’t work”
Left shocked and speechless Rebika says she simply couldn’t believe what the doctors were telling her.
“I still don’t believe it ...I still believe my daughters kidneys are gonna survive even though the doctors don’t believe it… when I found out I was braindead... all I did was cry, I couldn’t stop crying. I kept asking why is it happening to my daughter. Why? But I had to accept the fact and get on with it."
Nazifa playing with a nurse
Rebika knew that she had to be strong for her daughter and accept that her daughter was sick. She was aware of kidney problems in the family, as her step brother’s daughter also suffered from similar problems. However she never thought that this would be happening to her child.
“When it happens to your own you get puzzled, getting here three times a week is hard, she was so big...she burst...she started leaking...she couldn’t walk...and was bed-ridden for three months”
Trying to be positive
The doctors told Rebika that her daughter needs to maintain a healthy, balanced diet to keep her strong.
She says: “Initially when Nazifa does go onto the transplant list - then she will be strong enough to go through with the transplant. I am hoping to get her onto PD which is another kind of dialysis that you do at home, so she can go to school full time. This is much better for her and myself as well.”
Nazifa spends a lot of time in hospital.
A new renal unit
Rebika is extremely grateful to Birmingham’s Children’s Hospital for all of their help. She says at the moment the renal unit can get very crowded and she would be over the moon with a new one.
“As you can see there’s not much space… there are new people coming every day...they could do a new renal unit definitely.”
Click the link below to listen to Rebika's story:
last updated: 16/07/2008 at 10:09