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Alia Mariam fought against odds for her son’s treatment

Onika Maheshwari/ New Delhi

In 2015, Alia Mariam came to know that her one-year-old son Ayaan was born with cerebral palsy, an incurable condition of the brain. Nine years later, today Mariam is reaching out to mothers and parents who are struggling alone with a similar situation, and providing them guidance and support.

This former software engineer told Awaz-the Voice, “Nine months after my son was born, I realized he was not normal.” One day, her suspicion was confirmed by doctors. At this stage, Alia Maryam decided to start her son’s treatment.

Initially, she received support from her family but soon others got tired and questioned her on spending for her son who was incurable.

Alia soon realized she was alone in supporting her child and decided to do everything possible for his treatment. It was a natural but tough choice with consequences; she struggled with depression and tension to raise money for her son’s treatment through social media. 

Alia Mariam with her son Ayaan

Alia Maryam,33, researched her son’s condition and sought advice from doctors. Even doctors did not give her much hope and told her point-blank that there was no treatment for cerebral palsy. 

Alia Mariam came to know that stem cell therapy that costs Rs 20-25 lakh can be of help but even that doesn’t guarantee a cure. Since Ayaan is a patient of quadriplegia spastic cerebral palsy which means that due to lack of oxygen supply to his brain during her growth in his mother’s womb or maybe during his birth, his limbs remained underdeveloped. Ayaan needed physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and special education, and the cost of physiotherapy alone was Rs 15,000 per month.

Alia Maryam turned into a social media influencer and established her online community of parents of children with similar conditions. Alia put them in touch with therapists and also inspired them not to give up hope and effort. Alia also started a Facebook page in the name of  Cerebral Palsy/Special Kid and people contacted her about it. 

Alia Maryam being interviewed on her cookbook

Alia Maryam told Awaz that she also ran several campaigns to create awareness among people about children suffering from disabilities and their parents and was also associated with NGOs. She also visited Shimla and many other places. 

Alia says weekly therapy for Ayaan costs Rs 15,000. At present, he can sit only with support and he has also started rolling and crawling. Also, Ayaan will have to take this therapy for the rest of his life.

Cerebral palsy is a group of disorders that affect a person’s ability to move and maintain balance and posture. It’s the most common motor disability in childhood.

Alia says that people with CP have problems walking and sitting. Many people also have related conditions such as intellectual disability, problems in walking, seeing, hearing, or speaking, and changes in the spine are common. 

Alia Mariam with her son

Alia is invited to join online events from abroad where she works to create awareness and motivate parents of children suffering from this condition. 

She delivered a speech on the International Day of Persons with Disabilities.

Alia Maryam told Awaz-the Voice that she moved with her parents in Patna along with her son. She had separated from her husband and left the job. Since she needed money to take care of Ayaan she started her YouTube channel Alia Cookbook. 

Alia also wrote a cookbook on Mughlai food. He also participated in Sony TV’s famous reality show MasterChef in 2022. All this helped her raise money for her son’s therapy.

Alia graduated from Patna University and completed her Master’s in computer application from the IP University Delhi. Currently, Alia is working as a manager with an Education Consultancy firm. Along with this, Alia also takes online classes on coding. 

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Ayaan has a younger sister who is normal. Aliya’s husband has a frequently transferable job in the telecom industry. They have been married for ten years. 

       

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