Anne Mikolay

Like other teenagers, seventeen year old Salma Bashir likes makeup, music, and chatting with friends on social media. However, any similarity to her peers ends there. At four feet three inches, Salma Bashir is a courageous dynamo with a story that is unbelievable, heartbreaking, and most especially, inspirational. 

When Salma was four years old, she and her family were enjoying a day at a public pool while on vacation in Alexandria, Egypt, when what can only be described as a horrific, “how the heck could that happen?!” moment changed her life completely. Salma accidentally sat down on the kiddie pool’s uncovered suction valve; the strong force of the suction “glued” Salma in place and pulled her small intestines from her body before she was rescued. Salma spent several months in the hospital in Egypt, but the life-saving intestinal transplant she needed was not doable in Egypt. Salma was sent to Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 

After sixteen months and a generous anonymous donation to cover the expense, Salma received her small bowel transplant; however, things didn’t go as planned. After just two weeks, Salma’s body rejected the transplant; her infected small intestine, large intestine, and gallbladder were removed. Her bladder ruptured during surgery, leaving her incontinent. She also has a leaking hole in her stomach that will not heal, requiring her to change her bandages throughout the day and night. Salma has a central line (CVC) inserted in her back, and for the past 12 years, has been receiving total parenteral nutrition (TPN) through her veins. Salma’s mobility and social life is limited; she uses a wheelchair and is homeschooled. Salma is in constant pain. Her survival depends upon a multivisceral transplant. Five of Salma’s organs – her small intestine, large intestine, liver, stomach and pancreas – must be replaced. Success of such transplants is not guaranteed; the only certainty is the $4,000,000 cost. Presently, Salma is hospitalized for elevated enzymes in her pancreas.

Determined to live, Salma set up a go-fund-me page, “Salma’s Life Saving Transplant,” in 2018. To date, this brave teenager with an inspirational zest for life has raised $258,321 toward her $4,000,000 goal. Salma is aware time is not on her side and distracts herself from her situation by presenting makeup tutorials on youtube, instagram, and facebook. Her facebook page, “Slay with Salma,” has 194,000 followers (one of whom sent me her story), all dedicated to spreading the word of Salma’s plight in order to help save the life of this remarkable young lady.

Salma Bashir’s bravery is inspirational. While we complain about temporary inconveniences like wearing masks or social distancing during the Covid-19 pandemic, this seventeen year old manages the unimaginable on a daily basis. Any assistance you can provide her, whether it is a financial donation to her go-fund-me, or prayers for her health and perseverance, or passing her story along to someone else who might assist, would be greatly appreciated by Salma and her family.

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Anne Mikolay

Anne Mikolay

Anne M. Mikolay joined The Atlantic Highlands Herald as a columnist in 2008. Prior to penning “The Armchair Critic,” Anne wrote feature articles for The Monmouth Journal. Her work has appeared in national...