For all but six short weeks of her life, little Afiyah Master’s home has been a hospital ward.
Afiyah was born in November 2019 but even before she came into the world, parents civil servant Asif Master and primary school teacher Khadijah Munshi were told all was not well with their third daughter and it was unlikely she would survive the trauma of her birth.
Survive though she did and since then, while doctors at the Royal Preston Hospital, the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital and Liverpool’s Alder Hey Children’s Hospital have all puzzled to put a name to her condition, she has continued to exceed expectation with her determination to live.
Following her birth, Afiyah spent 249 days on the neo natal unit at the Royal Preston Hospital. Now she has her own room on the children’s ward, Ward Eight, with mum Khadijah spending a lot of time at her bedside, whilst dividing her time between her two other children Maryam (nine) and Fatimah (five) who haven’t been able to see their sister due to Covid-19 restrictions. Khadijah and Asif are there too at the weekends with Maryam and Fatimah looked after by grandparents.
Afiyah is receiving palliative care. She is blind, partially deaf, struggles to regulate her body temperature and can suddenly stop breathing. When especially poorly, she can stop breathing multiple times a day, requiring immediate emergency intervention. Her parents have been forewarned that any non-breathing episode could end her life.
Khadijah, who has already raised £1,600 for the Children’s Appeal through donations to her Instagram page, @inthelifeofafiyah, said: “Afiyah is very tactile and very sensory orientated. She can sense unfamiliarity. Neo natal was Afiyah’s first home and its staff her first family because of the love and care she received.
“Now her home is Ward Eight. She has two to one care at all times and that care couldn’t be better. The ward itself could though. It’s old and tired. Supporting the Children’s Appeal opens up a whole new world of possibility for the children on the ward and for their parents.”