Sunday, April 06, 2008

Zarine Rentia: In memoriam

Here is a story that touches me. It is reproduced below.


Tragic end for schoolgirl who had rare genetic disease

A SCHOOLGIRL who bravely fought a Home Office deportation order at the same time as a crippling genetic disease has died after going back to India.
Zarine Rentia, 15, who attended South Camden Community School in Somers Town, lost her long battle with illness last Wednesday at a hospital in Gujarat, India.
Teachers and students at the Charrington Street school – where Zarine’s friends campaigned for her to be allowed to stay – broke down in tears when they were informed of her tragic death yesterday (Wednesday) afternoon.
They are planning to plant cherry blossoms, Zarine’s favourite tree, at the school in her memory.
Zarine had returned to her native country a month ago to be closer to her family after English specialists diagnosed her condition as terminal, just as she and her mother, Tasnim, were on a verge of a landmark immigration ruling.
Her family were appealing against a Home Office decision which had ruled Zarine should be deported because her condition was “not life-threatening” when she fell seriously ill.
Medical experts rallied to help her, but were unable to diagnose the cause ?of her deterioration until it was too late.
Heart cancer brought on by the ultra-rare Fanconi-Bickel Syndrome (FBS) which Zarine had suffered from since birth was given as the cause of death.
Last night her distraught mother said: “Zarine was my world. I miss my child.”
Zarine came to England in 2004 and was diagnosed with FBS.
The disease renders bones too brittle to support the body’s weight and causes permanent liver and kidney damage. There are just 112 recorded cases worldwide.
Diane Abbott, MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington, said: “Zarine was a model student and a fantastic example of the immense contribution newcomers to this country are making. My thoughts are with her family and friends at this difficult time.”
South Camden headteacher Rosemary Leeke also paid tribute. She said: “In her 18 months at SCCS, Zarine touched us all. Her strength of character and perseverance through many difficult times inspired the respect and admiration of all who met her.
While we mourn her tragically premature death and send our heartfelt condolences to her family, especially her mother Tasnim who fought so hard to give her the chance of a full life, we also celebrate her legacy of hope and determination.”
A Home Office spokes man said: “Any appeal or application is deemed abandoned if the applicant voluntarily leaves the UK. We would not enforce the removal of someone with an outstanding appeal or application.”

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