Better Care

Happy 16th birthday, Queen Alina!

Alina Rashid passed away on 15 April, 10 days after her 16th birthday. With her continuing health uncertain, her family and palliative nurses had teamed up to throw a party in her honour in February. The story below was written shortly after that event.

Big-hearted BCHC nurses gave a teenage patient a day to remember when they threw a surprise 16th birthday party including a special live performance by her favourite musician.

Rap-reggae star Roach Killa accepted a top secret invitation from the children’s palliative care and rapid response teams to appear at a birthday bash for Alina Rashid, of Sparkbrook.

The family of Alina, who has cystic fibrosis and CADASIL - a rare hereditary form of stroke, have been supported by BCHC’s specialist community nursing services since she was a baby.

Alina Rashid birthday party group
Nurses Rachael Williams (left) and Michelle Snipe strike a pose with Alina and Roach Killa.

Dozens of family members and friends attended the event at St Andrew’s Stadium in Small Heath, where Birmingham City Football Club hospitality bosses laid on a fully equipped function room with a host of festive trimmings and a team of friendly staff to make sure everyone’s needs were catered for.

Guests also included staff and friends from Holy Trinity Catholic School in Small Heath, where Alina is a pupil, Acorns Hospice and Heartlands Hospital, where she attends for regular outpatient appointments.

Clinical lead for children’s palliative care Rachael Williams said:

“She’s fondly known as Queen Alina so we have told her she needs to plan for two birthdays – a big bash with all her friends and family and then a quieter day with her family on her actual birthday.

“We are indebted to the many people who gave up their time for free and especially the wonderful team at Birmingham City and to Roach Killa.

”It was worth all the planning just to see her face when he walked in and started singing to her.”

To underline her VIP status on her big day, the team arranged for Alina to arrive and depart in chauffeur-driven limousines and to sit regally on a white leather ‘throne’ during the celebrations, beneath a spectacular archway of brightly coloured balloons in all her favourite colours.

Children’s rapid response team leader Michelle Snipe added: “When we learnt that a birthday celebration was at the heart of Alina’s wishes, the team set about making her dream come true.

“Despite a timescale of just 14 days to arrange a party, we were all determined to pull it off and set about approaching local businesses to ask for their support in creating a party ‘fit for a queen’.

“We’re so grateful for all the many kind contributions; but the icing on the cake was the appearance of Roach Killa.

Memories of past birthdays came flooding back for Alina as he sang, danced and ate party food with her, even spurring her to have a little dance alongside her oxygen cylinder!

Alina Rashid cake-cutting

“The number of people who attended – not only family, but so many friends and people who have cared for her – showed how many hearts this courageous young lady has touched and there was hardly a dry eye in the room as she was whisked home in her white limousine, taking with her the most precious memories that had been made.”

Alina’s mum Noreen Bibi said: “We really appreciate everything that’s been done for Alina and for this fantastic party.

“I’ve only been organising it with the community nursing team for a couple of weeks and we managed to keep it all a complete surprise from Alina. She didn’t know anything at all.”

Alina greets Roach Killa
Alina welcomes Roach Killa!
Alina's birthday cake
healthy options were on the birthday menu!
Alina Rashid
Magical memories

Thank you!

Alina's family and the nursing teams would also like to give special thanks to the following for making her party so special: