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Blind Pakistani doctor finds solace in rock climbing, painting

July 24, 2019
 
She is also a writer



Looking at a rocky mountain and thinking about getting to the top can be daunting for many people. Imagine if you couldn't see the mountain and were still trying to climb it. 

Zarina Hassan, a 45-year-old mother of three and a doctor with a master’s degree in the molecular biology and pathology of viruses from Imperial College, lost her eyesight to glaucoma in 2015. But her inability to see didn't stop her from achieving what she wanted in life.

Hassan fell prey to the life-altering disease at the age of 35 and completely lost her vision within five years.

“It all started 10 years back when I realized that I couldn't see anything from my left eye, however, after the diagnosis it was revealed that I had glaucoma,” said Hassan told SAMAA TV on its programme Naya Din on Wednesday. “For five years I could only see from my right eye, but then in 2015 my other eye got affected too and I lost my vision completely.”

Related: Why is there a shortage of female doctors in Pakistan?

Even when she had to let go of her career after she lost her vision, but never once gave up on her hopes and dreams.

She is now a self-described writer by choice, rock climber by passion and accomplished painter by virtue. “As a woman, we wear multiple hats, we have a tendency to excel in every role and skill that has been given to us, like being a mother, sister or wife. I think it comes to me naturally that I can do painting, social work and also rock climbing all at once,” said Hassan.

Apart from learning to communicate, read and write while being blind, Hassan continued to trek difficult mountainous.

“I have trekked Islamabad’s Margala Hills and some mountains in Skardu and Hunza,” said Hassan.

Hassan also keeps herself busy with social work. She advocates for social inclusion for persons with disabilities and guides parents of visually impaired children to believe in them. She also engages with organizations to involve differently-abled children as equally as any other children.

“Since I am a doctor and a patient I believe that healthcare and medical ethics are also very important. A doctor should not forget their patients,” she said. Hassan believes that if someone is diagnosed with any life-altering disease, every doctor should refer them to a rehabilitation council or a centre so that they can get their lives back to normal.

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Blind, Mountain Climbing, trekking, painter, writer, doctor, Zarina Hassan, Glaucoma
 
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