Parents' tribute to tragic little girl

A HEARTBROKEN family is fighting to raise awareness of the rare, incurable disease that claimed their young daughter s life. Anisa Qayyum died in August and to mark what would have been her eighth birthday this month, parents Farah and Kashif will stage a

A HEARTBROKEN family is fighting to raise awareness of the rare, incurable disease that claimed their young daughter's life.

Anisa Qayyum died in August and to mark what would have been her eighth birthday this month, parents Farah and Kashif will stage a sponsored walk in South Park, Ilford.

The couple, of Rutland Road, Ilford, aim to raise awareness of Leigh's disease while raising money for the "fantastic people" at Newbridge School, Ilford, and Redbridge Forum, who helped look after Anisa.

Train driver Mr Qayyum, 33, said: "Anisa was never able to walk or talk, but she was a beautiful girl and enjoyed life. I had never heard of Leigh's disease, and even the doctors were unsure about it.


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"We miss her every day and cry for her - she will not be forgotten. We feel we owe it to her to raise awareness while supporting the people who helped.''

Anisa fell ill at six months and wasn't diagnosed until she was three. After numerous hospital visits, she died on August 30 in King George Hospital, Barley Lane, Goodmayes.

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Mr Qayyum said: "She was having difficulty sleeping so I gave her some medicine, but it didn't help. Within a couple of hours she was having real problems breathing, so paramedics took her to hospital.

"We thought it would be OK but as we arrived we knew it was awful news.

I can't explain how it feels to lose a child - it just feels so empty."

The couple's other daughter Aneela, two, accompanies mum and dad on regular visits to the grave and kisses

Anisa's picture whenever she sees it.

Mr Qayyum said: "We are so grateful to the school and the Forum (which provides out-of-school care) and hope to raise �1,000 for them."

Jilly Turley, head of education at Newbridge's Loxford Lane campus, said: "Anisa was incredibly special, with an infectious smile.''

The school held a memorial service for her in September.

The walk, involving relatives and friends, is at 11am on Sunday, April 25.

The couple want to attract families by making it a fun day.

To sponsor the couple phone 020 8478 7571 or 0798 511 5157.

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