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Fundraiser in name of pharmacist COVID victim tops £6k in three days

Sana Masood, who died of COVID-19 on April 1
Sana Masood, who died of COVID-19 on April 1

A fundraiser started in the name of a pharmacist who died of COVID-19 has raised two thirds of the money needed for a new school in Pakistan in just three days.

Sana Masood, who worked at Neil’s Pharmacy in Prescot, died on April 1 this year, aged 30. The Liverpool John Moores pharmacy graduate is survived by her husband, Azam, her mother and two brothers. Her funeral was held on April 2.

Following her death, Ms Masood’s family started a fundraiser to raise £9,000 for a school in her name to be built in an impoverished, rural area of Pakistan, to be carried out by her husband and two brothers.

The school would serve as “Sadaqah Jariyah” – meaning “ongoing charity” – according to the campaign, as the one act of giving would have continued benefit for the lives of all those educated in the classroom. The fundraiser will last throughout the month of Ramadan, and any extra proceeds will be donated to Diabetes UK – a condition Ms Masood lived with from childhood.

Ambreen Ghaffur, Ms Masood’s best friend and specialist pharmacist at Pinderfields General Hospital – who is running the campaign – explained: “Sana was extremely hard working herself and wanted the best for others. Education is the key to unlock opportunities and building a school in her name is something that would reflect her life and the values she lived by.”

The campaign had initially aimed to raise £2,500 to fund the costs of building a single classroom in Pakistan – where Ms Masood’s family originate from. However, after an “overwhelming response” that raised £2,000 in the first 24 hours of the campaign, the family have since increased the target. At the time of writing, more than £6,000 has been raised.

Tributes from friends and colleagues

Ms Ghaffur described Ms Masood – her best friend of over a decade – as “the most kind-hearted and friendly person you could meet. She would light up a room with her warmth and gentle nature”.

“Sana was a beautiful soul who was so selfless and pure,” Ms Ghaffur noted on the fundraising page. “She was loved by so many and has left a massive hole in everyone's hearts.”

Neil’s Pharmacy, where Ms Masood regularly worked, said the team “is utterly heartbroken and our thoughts, prayers and wishes go out to her family”.

Waqas Ahmed, owner and manager of Neil’s Pharmacy, recalled: “Affectionately known as ‘little Sana’, she was a wonderfully thoughtful, generous and kind person. She was always happy and upbeat, which reflected in her work, into her teammates and the people she dealt with as a pharmacist.

“She was a very high calibre pharmacist with the potential to achieve whatever she would have wanted. She always went above and beyond when dealing with patients and always had a smile on her face.

“She was loved by the patients and her team members and had a positive impact on everything she was involved with. She is greatly missed by all those who knew her, and she will be a great loss to not only Neil’s Pharmacy, but the pharmacy profession as a whole.”

A “huge shock to everyone”

According to Ms Ghaffur, Ms Masood’s death had left “a huge hole in her family and friends’ lives”.

However, their Islamic faith “has played a huge part in helping us all understand her premature death”, she said.

“Despite COVID restrictions, I believe the fundraiser is a way for her family and friends to do something positive and memorable in Sana’s honour and aid in the healing process,” Ms Ghaffur added.

Ms Masood’s type 1 diabetes was something she “struggled with” over the past four years, according to Ms Ghaffur. Despite being “extremely vigilant” during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially in her role of community pharmacist, she was admitted to hospital due to complications, where she contracted COVID-19 and required immediate transfer to the intensive care unit.

“Despite fighting to her last breath, she unfortunately wasn’t able to recover.”

Sana Masood's fundraiser can be found here.

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