This year, Najeeb Aslam, a patient at Harefield Hospital, built a shed from scratch not only to raise funds for the hospital, but also to improve his physical and mental wellbeing

The foundation to Najeeb’s shed had been laid in 2013, but unfortunately, soon after he was diagnosed with cancer. Following initial surgery and a course of radiotherapy, he went into remission and just needed regular scans and check-ups.

He had been under the care of his physiotherapist, Peter Bird, for some time. Peter had been helping Najeeb with mobility and working on pain and stiffness with exercise. But he needed to motivate Najeeb to move more to improve his quality of life. He suggested Najeeb might complete his shed, and on completion donate to a charity of his choice.

 In 2019, scans showed that cancer had spread in Najeeb’s chest again. Surgery to remove the tumours was not successful. Najeeb decided to come to Harefield for care from Emma Beddow and her team who are specialists in lung cancer surgery. In March 2020, he had surgery at Harefield to correct the unsuccessful surgery.

Najeeb was still to take Peter up on his offer. Cancer and repeated surgeries were taking their toll on Najeeb. His motivation was low, his muscles were wasting, and the foundation to Najeeb’s shed were still bare.

In 2021, however, Najeeb was ready. He no longer wanted to feel like a burden; he wanted to create something he was proud of and for his family. When he learned that a ready to assemble shed would take months to deliver, Peter said to him: “Now is your chance!” Encouraged, Najeeb decided to build the shed from scratch, learning with video tutorials as he worked.

Najeeb said: “I started the build in June and finished in mid-August – I feel so happy that I did it!” It was not always plain sailing. “To build the roof was a bit tricky. when I went up there to make it I caught a cold which set me back. It was my first shed, and I didn't know much about construction. How do I start the cladding? Do I start from the bottom or the top? How could I make the shed rainproof? I asked a friend for help, and he helped me. Peter did not want anything to stop me from completing this project."

I have become more active as a result of this challenge. It was hard work because the wood was very heavy, but it was satisfying to see it finished. I was proud to give back to Harefield Hospital for the help and support that I have received with my ongoing lung condition under the cardiothoracic team at Harefield Hospital. I can’t thank them enough and will do anything to support them.”

Najeeb raised £300 with his Man Cave and received a certificate from his most dedicated supporter, Peter, to acknowledge the courage and perseverance Najeeb summoned to complete his project.

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