Nasir and Habib

Helping to find a perfect match

“When Marie Curie came over and talked to me, they realised I wanted to be active and for someone to take me outside,” says Nasir. “It’s very nice to have Habib as a Helper volunteer. It’s extra company and he’s like a son.”

Nasir has motor neurone disease and was referred to the Marie Curie Helper service by social services. Nasir moved from Pakistan to the UK three years. Before his illness he worked in banking and was a keen sportsman, playing cricket and running six miles every day. Through the service he was partnered with Habib who visits every Friday.

A perfect match

The Marie Curie Helper service aims to match those living with a terminal illness with a volunteer who shares similar interests and hobbies as well as cultural and religious beliefs. Nasir and Habib are both Muslim and share family roots in Pakistan, and they also share a keen interest in sport, especially football and cricket.

Nasir was desperate for a Marie Curie Helper as he wanted to regain some of the active lifestyle he used to live. “I had a very active life before,” says Nasir. “I liked to walk outside and do normal activities. I had tried to go for walks by myself but I had quite a few falls. I wanted to be active again.”

Habib, a 23 year old pharmacist, helps make this happen. “I take Nasir to the park nearby. I sometimes take him to his GP appointment or to get medicine from the pharmacy, or to the supermarket to get some fruit.”

Building a friendship

Habib’s visits have not only helped Nasir lead a more active life, they have also helped the pair develop a close bond and friendship. “Initially for the first few meetings with Nasir, it was a bit more formal,” says Habib. “But now, it’s more relaxed. Sometimes if Nasir’s family are over he might ring and say he can’t make it that day so we rearrange. Once his wife made a biryani and she called me after work and I came over. I had said that biryani was my favourite and so she made some for me.”

The friendship has also provided Nasir’s wife with some respite from caring. “It’s hard for her to physically help me out of the house and across the road,” says Nasir. “She did try to help, but ended up with shoulder pain. Having Habib to help me gives my wife a break and it means she can also go to Friday prayers.”

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