'I didn’t want mum to give up fighting cancer, so I couldn't either' - the brave Sunderland student who cared for her dying mum

Devoted daughter Yasmine Haq cared for her dying mum who sadly lost her battle with a rare form of cancer just weeks before the 24-year-old graduated from Sunderland University.

Sunday, 18th August 2019, 16:30 pm
Updated Monday, 19th August 2019, 14:36 pm
Yasmine Haq with mum Denise

Yasmine Haq’s mum Denise was diagnosed with a rare form of liver cancer 18 months ago – after doctors completing a minor bowel procedure noticed something wasn’t right.

While continuing to study for her pharmacy degree at Sunderland, Yasmine cared for mum who sadly lost her battle with cancer aged just 55.

Yasmine said: “I didn’t want mum to give up fighting cancer, so I couldn’t give up either, even though there were days when I just thought I couldn’t carry on. She was so frightened at times and I knew I had to get the job done for her.

Yasmine Haq

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

“The morning before she died I was sat in the hospice revising until 2am, by 10.30am she had passed away with me and my sister Nadia at her side, she was just 55 years old.”

Lecturers nominated Yasmine, of Spennymoor, County Durham, for a graduation award - the Jemma O'Sullivan Award for Care and Compassion in the Practice of Pharmacy.

The award is presented each year to a graduate who has demonstrated these qualities during their degree course. Jemma O’ Sullivan was just 22 when she was killed in a motorway crash in 2010. To mark a lasting legacy for Jemma, her parents Vincent and Margaret, sponsor this special award each year.

“It means so much to be recognised by the university in this way. I don’t know how I would have coped without the support of my lecturers. I pushed myself and am proud to have walked away with a 2:2. My mum always wanted me to have my own career, and that’s why I kept going.”

Yasmine Haq with dad Zia and sister Nadia

Dr Adrian Moore, Head of School: Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at Sunderland, said: “Yasmine fully deserves this award, she has been through so much over these last 18 months, coping with her mum’s cancer diagnosis.”

Yasmine has now begun her pre-registration year as a community pharmacist at Eilbeck Deneside pharmacy in Seaham, working alongside her father Zia, who is also a pharmacist and a Sunderland graduate.