ASHIC is a non-profit organization in Bangladesh which started in 1994 after the untimely demise of Ashiq Husain Choudhury who was only 3 years 3 months and 3 days old when he died of cancer following treatment in London for a year.
His parents, Salma and Afzal Husain Choudhury, were devastated after losing Ashiq on 20th May 1993. Among their 4 children, Ashiq was not the first child they lost. They lost their first daughter, Samina Afzal (Munia), in February 1977, due to an accidental brain injury. Fortunately, Salma and Afzal Choudhury were blessed with another daughter (Maheen) in April 1977, a welcome distraction in their grief. Later Asif ,their elder son, and Maheen helped the young couple to bear the ordeal of losing Munia. However, the prolonged illness and subsequent death of their youngest son Ashiq proved too much for Salma and she slid into severe depression. Her husband, their 2 children and the birth of ASHIC helped Salma to slowly overcome her circumstances.
In the early 1990s, Ashiq’s un-diagnosed disease, which manifested in various symptoms for months prior, concerned his parents that medical services were inadequate in Dhaka. They were compelled to seek the treatment of Ashiq at London, which was far more advanced in medical knowledge and capacity. After the immediate diagnosis and ensuing year-long treatment that still proved insufficient to save their son, they were determined to have a positive impact on the journey of families in Bangladesh who had a child living with cancer. Thereafter Salma and Afzal came forward to set up ASHIC, a Foundation for Childhood Cancer. ASHIC stands for A Shelter for Helpless Ill Children which also reflects an acronym for their lost son, Ashiq.
ASHIC was the first foundation in Bangladesh that focused solely on Childhood Cancer. The foundation exposed Salma Choudhury to the ordeals faced by countless families from all socio- economic backgrounds, which helped her identify and combat some modifiable factors affecting the Survival Rate of cancer affected children. Ever since ASHIC started addressing these issues, there has been a remarkable increase in the Survival Rate of cancer children in Bangladesh, as well as overall improvement in the quality of life of the terminal ill children till their end while support is also provided to their families.