Inshan Ishmael: "True heroes" in Haleema's case not given credit
Businessman and political activist Inshan Ishmael has expressed outrage that the "true heroes" that donated to 5-year-old Haleema Mohammed's cause have not been given due credit.
Haleema, who suffers from a beta thalassaemia, a blood disorder, needed some $400,000 to undergo a bone marrow transplant in India.
She was rejected by the Children's Life Fund Authority (CLFA) on the grounds that there was no evidence of a definitive diagnosis of beta thalassaemia and that the condition was not life-threatening.
However, the family was able to make up the funds through donations, including from several business people.
Yesterday they were presented with a cheque from Stefan Chin, son of MovieTowne owner Derek Chin, in the amount of $20,000.
Haleema's mother Cristal has expressed gratitude for the donations which will enable the child to begin treatment in India on September 4.
But in a statement, Ishmael took issue with media reports that credited corporate entities with making the surgery possible.
He said he had a part to play as he publicised Haleema's case on his television show.
"Approximately 2 weeks ago I was approached by the parents of Haleema Mohammed to assist in raising funds for her surgery," Ishmael said.
"I immediately made arrangements for her to appear on my programme, Breaking Barriers, and I spent about 45 minutes with viewers calling in to pledge."
Ishmael said the information was provided to viewers on how they could donate.
"The bank account was displayed as well as the father's name was given as to whom cheques should be made out to."
He claimed this resulted in more than $270,000 being raised in two weeks' time. He said this was due to the generosity of viewers.
"Children came and broke their piggy banks, people traveled from Cedros, the elderly who could not even walk gave from their pension funds," said Ishmael.
"What is shameful is that political prostitutes are using this case for mileage and the true heroes are left out in the rain. If we did not highlight and assist with this case, no one would be going anywhere."
Ishmael took further aim at Haleema's parents, who he said were partly to blame for not seeking to correct the reports.