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Crossing borders for healing: The journey of an Indian heart to Pakistan

A 19-year-old patient from Karachi in Pakistan, Ayesha Rashid, underwent a successful heart transplant in Chennai India
crossing borders for healing  the journey of an indian heart to pakistan
Crossing borders for healing: The journey of an Indian heart to Pakistan --- Photo: Courtesy/X

New Delhi, Apr 27: In an emotional tale of compassion transcending borders, Ayesha Rashid, a 19-year-old from Karachi, Pakistan, found hope and healing in Chennai, India. Her journey, marked by resilience and generosity, culminated in a successful heart transplant, underscoring the power of humanity, and compassion across the borders creating a new hope in times of adversity.


Ayesha's saga began in 2019 when a sudden cardiac arrest shook her world in Karachi, owing to a pre-existing heart condition. Faced with the urgent need for specialized care, she embarked on a quest for treatment, ultimately leading her to the doors of Chennai in India for medical evaluation. However, her health continued to decline, necessitating her return to Chennai in June 2023, ANI news agency reported.


Financial constraints loomed large over Ayesha's path to recovery, amplifying her emotional ordeal. Dr KR Balakrishnan, Chief of Heart Transplant at MGM Healthcare in Chennai, recognized her plight and, in collaboration with the Aishwaryam Trust, extended a lifeline to Ayesha.


"In that country (Pakistan), managing patients with artificial heart pumps is not easy because the equipment required to monitor is not there. With great difficulty, she got the visa and she came here with little money. We had to take care of all the expenses," shared Dr KR Balakrishnan in an interview with Ani news agency.


"Aishwaryam Trust came forward very generously to help, and they paid for other patients as well. Eventually, we got a heart donor from Delhi, and she underwent the transplant.”


On January 31, 2024, hope soared as a heart was airlifted from Delhi to Chennai, setting the stage for Ayesha's transformative surgery.


"A 19-year-old Ayesha from Karachi successfully underwent a heart transplant surgery at a hospital in Chennai. Over One crore pkr borne by the Indian hospital, trust, and Dr Balakrishna; this shows humanity beyond borders. She received a 69-year-old donor heart from Delhi," said @AaliyaShah1, on the “X” platform, a renowned Pakistani TV Programme anchor and author, reflecting on Ayesha's journey. The tweet went viral across both nations.


"A 69-year-old man from India donated his heart to a 19-year-old Pakistani girl in India. There is still hope," echoed another tweet by @momentmemori moments and memories.

Reflecting on Ayesha's journey, Dr Balakrishnan emphasised the challenges she faced, particularly in accessing adequate healthcare resources in Pakistan. He highlighted the medical community's and philanthropic organisations' collaborative efforts in securing Ayesha's treatment.

Ayesha, with dreams of becoming a fashion designer, expressed her heartfelt gratitude to the Indian government and her medical team, affirming her desire to return to India in the future.

"I'm very happy that I got a transplant; I thank the Indian government. I'll definitely come back to India one day again. I thank the doctors also for the treatment," said Ayesha Rashid, the Pakistani patient who got a heart transplant in Chennai to ANI

Ayesha's mother, Sanober, shared the emotional rollercoaster of their journey, from despair to hope, echoing profound appreciation for Dr Balakrishnan and the Chennai medical fraternity.

In an emotional testament to the indomitable spirit of humanity, Ayesha's successful transplant not only saved her life but also fostered a step forward to the bond of solidarity between nations, reminding us that compassion knows no borders.