Imran Ahmed Khan Niazi was born on October 5th, 1952. One of five siblings, he was the youngest and only son of Ikramullah Khan Niazi, a civil engineer, and Shaukat Khanum.
Shaukat Khanum was a woman who was proud of her heritage. She hailed from a family of proficient cricketers, and a Sufi Warrior Poet. Hers was a pride she instilled in her children, along with an iron resolve. In February 1985, after a long and agonising struggle, Shaukat Khanum’s family lost her to cancer. She was 63 years old.
Little did Imran know that the most painful event of his life would pave the way for a hospital that continues to provide hope for millions. Today, Imran Khan is a former Prime Minister of Pakistan. He is also the Founding Chairman of Imran Khan Cancer Appeal and Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital.
After graduating in 1976, Imran Khan became a cricketer full-time and took his permanent place on the Pakistan national team. He distinguished himself as an exceptional bowler and all-rounder throughout the 1980s and was named captain of the Pakistan national team in 1982. Imran went on to achieve his greatest sporting success in 1992 by leading Pakistan to its first world cup title, defeating England in the final.
On November 10th, 1989, at Lahore’s Gaddafi Stadium, Imran Khan made his first fundraising appeal for Shaukat Khanum Hospital. It came during a cricket match between India and Pakistan and helped get the ball rolling for a series of further fundraisers that went global. The idea of a hospital providing free cancer care was laughable to most, but Imran wasn’t discouraged.
Two years later, Pakistan’s World Cup win under his captaincy gave the appeal the boost it needed. The response was phenomenal and £1.5 million was collected in just six weeks. Imran Khan donated the entire sum of his own prize money to the project and continued to campaign until construction for the hospital was underway.