Young Citizen: Barkingside girl Hania, 11, starts school ‘with a smile’ despite ongoing chemotherapy

PUBLISHED: 15:00 21 October 2017

Young Citizen nominee Hania Akhtar

Young Citizen nominee Hania Akhtar


An 11-year-old Barkingside girl has just started secondary school despite having had chemotherapy for the last seven years to tackle an aggressive tumour.

Hania Akhtar, of Duke Road, was diagnosed with a form of fibromatosis – a soft tissue tumour – when she was just four years old.

The growth began near her kidney, and has gradually stretched over other internal organs.

Hania spent the next year in Great Ormond Street Hospital, London, undergoing intensive chemotherapy before being allowed to return home.

Now starting Year 7 at Oaks Park High School, she has been in constant treatment ever since her diagnosis, with only two six month gaps in chemotherapy.

Hania is this week’s Recorder/Rotary Club Young Citizen Award nominee, for keeping going at her studies with a fantastic attitude, despite her illness.

The award aims to recognise the achievements of the brilliant young people in Redbridge.

Hania’s dad Fahim Akhtar, 38, said that while her condition has “improved” over time as her body has adapted to the treatment, it still severely impacts her life.

This particularly affects her schoolwork and attendance.

Hania told the Recorder: “Sometimes it’s really hard in lessons because you’ve missed a lot of work.”

She regularly has to field questions as to “why you’re not in school”.

Inspite of this Hania managed to start at Oaks Park, Oaks Lane, Newbury Park, last month.

Teacher Yvette Corton, who nominated her for this award, said: “She is determined to overcome any obstacle to make sure she comes in even for a short time.

“She is always happy with a beautiful smile on her face and a great sense of humour.”

Fahim described his daughter as “amazing”, and wanted to thank the staff at GOSH for teaching Hania how to deal day to day with her condition.

She says she keeps going to school because “I really like learning”, particularly her favourite subject, science.

The award is run by the Recorder in conjunction with Redbridge Rotary Club, and sponsored by The Exchange shopping centre, Ilford, which will provide each monthly winner with a £30 gift card.

The Young Citizen of the Year will be crowned at next year’s Mayor’s Community Awards.

You can nominate any person from Redbridge, as long as they are under 25, by emailing

Related articles

Latest Ilford News Stories

Every single year in the UK 600 die from sudden cardiac arrest. It is estimated that 270 of these deaths occur in school.

Yesterday, 15:00

In this week’s heritage column, Hainault schoolboy Derek Hall remembers what it was like in east London as the Luftwaffe pulverised neighbourhoods and fighter pilots shot up residential streets.

Yesterday, 12:00

They say never meet your heroes. So I am at liberty to think of any of the winter Olympians as heroes – as I can’t afford a skiing holiday, our paths won’t cross.


Redbridge Estate agents Sandra Davidson’s hassle-free service guarantees rental income for your property, whether it is occupied or not. Here they share details of the Guaranteed Rent Scheme and how it can help you avoid the regular stresses associated with managing a let.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read news

Show Job Lists


Having a brand new kitchen is something that lots of people want but can only dream of. Sadly keeping up to date and making our living spaces as nice as they can be is a costly and incredibly stressful business. Even a fresh coat of paint makes all the difference but isn’t easy or quick.

Who wouldn’t love the chance to go on a shopping spree. Imagine being able to walk into a shop and choose whatever your heart desires without having to worry about how much it costs.

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Ilford Recorder
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now