In 2012, the results of a biopsy test at the Aga Khan University Hospital revealed that Aliciya Josephine had breast cancer. This news was a great blow for her.
"Why me?" she asked about her diagnosis. "I have been living a good, clean life. No smoking. No drinking or prohibited drugs."
The ordeal was worst for Josephine because she had moved to Pakistan nine years earlier, to work for a family based in Karachi. Her own family lived in Philippines.
Josephine felt very "alone" during the first months of her treatment. However, she gradually felt comfortable at the Breast Clinic at AKUH. She followed the advice of Dr Shaista Khan and underwent surgery to have her breast removed. After surgery, Josephine underwent chemotherapy. She lost her hair; her limbs went numb and her skin blackened, yet she remained undefeated. Her faith in God and positive attitude "kept her going". She kept herself busy with activities such as gardening and participation in the Special Olympics project. Her employers were also very supportive and enabled her to continue her treatment at AKU for three years.
In the years that followed the diagnosis, Josephine faced further heartache as both her mother and brother passed away, but she was unable to return to her homeland for their funerals, as she was undergoing treatment in Karachi. However, she remained positive and persevered in her efforts to maintain a normal life.
"I told myself to fight: cancer will never beat me. I will beat it and save my life!" Josephine says adamantly. "That is what my mother would also want me to do!".
Josephine remained strong and she was eventually cured of cancer. She now comes to AKU for regular checkups. She enjoys visiting the Hospital and meeting with her friends here.
Her advice to all other women is to visit a doctor if they feel that something is wrong with their body, because early detection can help save a person's life - as it saved hers.
"Cancer can be cured. I am cured and I feel good! I dream of going home to Philippines to visit my family someday." she says.