Birthday charity walks in brother's memory

The charity walk in Heartwood Forest in memory of Ayaan Hussain.

The charity walk in Heartwood Forest in memory of Ayaan Hussain. - Credit: Salam Jones

A loving sister organised two special charity walks for her eighth birthday to remember her brother a year after he died. 

Killigrew School pupil Sahar Hussain wanted to do something special to honour her sibling Ayaan, who died unexpectedly on June 27 2020 aged just 13.

He had been battling a condition called ulceractive colitis, a long-term condition where the colon and rectum become inflamed, which can sometimes have fatal consequences.

Ayaan's mum Nargis, a teacher at Sandringham School, and his dad Jamal, owner of The Meating Room restaurant, helped Sahar put on the walks in October at Heartwood Forest, which saw 120 walkers take part.

The charity walk in Heartwood Forest in memory of Ayaan Hussain.

The charity walk in Heartwood Forest in memory of Ayaan Hussain. - Credit: Salam Jones

Nargis said: "The weather was just perfect and our little walking legends were amazing! We were blessed with two days of sun and no rain!

"During the walk we took a break where the children and parents took part in arts and craft activities. They all had the chance to create super cute hedgehogs, dream catchers and do some leaf art.

"The day ended with the sun coming out while we all sat down to enjoy eating pizza, cakes, cookies and pastries. Sahar had such an amazing day and couldn’t stop talking about it throughout the rest of the evening."

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She explained the aim of the walks was to help raise money for two very special charities: Crohn's & Colitis Foundation and the AyaanJM Trust, and they beat their £3,000 target with a total of £4,566.

"Crohn's & Colitis is close to our heart because our son suffered from ulcerative colitis, and this was what painfully took him away from us last year. It aims to cure Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, and to improve the quality of life for children and adults affected, as well as fund basic research.

"The Ayaan JM Trust was created by us in loving memory of our beautiful Ayaan. This charity aims to help and support vulnerable people in Bangladesh and provide them with various facilities that they currently do not have access to."

Nargis said the walks offered an opportunity for reflection: "It has been an incredibly difficult time for us as a family and for all our loved ones around us. We feel our faith and belief has helped and taught us a lot.

"The peace and contentment you receive in return for helping others in need; by doing charitable acts, no matter how small or large has been helping us in dealing with our loss.

"Our Ayaan loved to give, and would always donate what he could whenever he could. It’s all about being kind - our faith has not only helped us get through this, but has also helped us and our family grow through this.

"I feel our creator has been kind and merciful to us and taught us through this test that sometimes we have to take a step out of our lives and be aware of the suffering around us and help where we can. By sharing, by giving a gift - we are told that even a smile is an act of charity.

"We would like to take this opportunity to say a huge, heartfelt thank you to our wonderful, generous, and kind friends and families who who helped us to make the event so beautiful and successful. 

"We could not organise and hold these events without everyone's help. We are truly grateful and feel blessed for being part of this wonderful community."

Rachel Neill, who took part, said: "It was an incredible day, organised by the most incredible and strong lady Nargis. She amazes me with her strength and courage each and every day. We all felt blessed to be part of something so special.

"Sahar is a truly amazing child, she wanted to raise awareness and money for a charity so close to her heart in memory of her precious brother, Ayaan."

Justine Martin added: “This was a lovely walk where we celebrated Ayaan’s life and his sister Sahar’s birthday. It’s been a tough 18 months for so many and this great event, wonderfully organised by Nargis, was a chance for us to come together, pay our respects, and start healing."

To find out more about Ayaan, visit https://www.ayaanjamiamasjid.com/about-ayaan/

More detail about Crohn’s and Colitis can be found here: crohnsandcolitis.org.uk/about-crohns-and-colitis

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