A brave Mitchells Plain soccer player, who has been battling cancer for two years while waiting for a bone marrow transplant, has lost the fight.
The family of 13-year-old Niyaaz Mohammed says he passed away on Wednesday, 13 January.
The young soccer star was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) in October 2019 and his wish was to die at home with his family.
AML is a type of blood cancer in which the bone marrow makes abnormal myeloblasts (a type of white blood cell), red blood cells, or platelets.
In 2019, Niyaaz’s mom Ferial took him to the hospital on three separate occasions where he was told he might have tuberculosis.
The parents had started to notice the boy’s lack of energy and dwindling appetite and dad Marawaan says the doctor noticed how pale his son was and sent him for blood tests.
Niyaaz started chemotherapy last year while waiting for a bone marrow transplant.
Marawaan, 38, recalls his last week at Red Cross Children's Hospital.
“On 4 January, he had a hospital appointment for his routine check-up,” the father says.
“We took a taxi to the hospital, Niyaaz said he felt tired, and I put him on my back and carried him.
“He said, ‘daddy, I'm tired’.
“When we approached the hospital, the nurse saw us coming and immediately assisted us.
“We went into the room and the doctor told me he had to have that awkward conversation with me,” the heartbroken dad says.
He says while calling Ferial to come to the hospital, his son was given morphine for the pain.
But when the family arrived, Niyaaz was suddenly fine and full of life again.
“We then decided we are going to leave the hospital as our son doesn't want to die in hospital,” Marawaan says.
But a week later, the same scenario played out.
“Last week Monday, we had the same routine check and exactly the same thing happened,
“Niyaaz felt tired and sick, they medicated him, my wife insisted we take him home because we could see this was it.
“Niyaaz sleeps with his eyes open, so I won't know if he’s sleeping or if he’s gone.
“He made it through the night at the hospital and the Tuesday we took him home. There was nothing they could do for him at the hospital anymore.”
Ferial, 35, says relatives and friends all came to say their goodbyes that night.
“The Wednesday, around 7am, Niyaaz was awake, moaning and moving side to side.
“It went on throughout the day, we prayed for him, he then greeted us and spoke to us, he passed away at 3.50pm.
“We laid on the bed by him, he went peacefully. He got his wish.”
The family now wishes to donate party packets to the sick children who shared their son’s hospital ward but needs help.
If you would like to assist, please call Marawaan on 061 422 2162.