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Community leader says love and laughter were key to her recovery

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Fauzia Mazhar says laughter helped her get through cancer and a devastating accident that left her badly injured.

Mazhar, the Women’s Muslim Coalition of K-W’s executive director, was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer in 2019.

“They said that because of the post cancer medication that I was taking my bones were very, very weak,” she explained Thursday.

In August 2022, Mazhar left for a family vacation in Pakistan. On the way there, they had a stopover in Dubai, and that's when her life changed forever.

Her family wanted a little bit of adventure. So they went to a sand-dune safari and took some quad bikes out for a spin.

Then Mazhar’s quad hit a fence.

“Some of my ribs were fractured twice, in two different places,” she explained. “My sternum, the lung and my brain.”

She also had subdural hematoma, a buildup of blood in her brain.

“I had five spinal cord [injuries],” Mazhar added.

She spent five weeks in an overseas hospital and went through several live-saving surgeries.

Only then could she begin the long recovery process.

What Mazhar learned

Throughout the ordeal, Mazhar kept her focus on family.

She also used her love of stand-up comedy to motivate her during the darkest times.

Before her cancer diagnosis and 2022 accident, Mazhar produced comedy videos which she would post online.

Now it was helping her through the most difficult parts of her recovery.

“Sort of owning it and appreciating it and using it every day has helped me a lot,” she said.

Mazhar isn’t sure her act is ready for a comedy stage, she’s just happy to bring a little bit of light into the life of others.

Mazhar also helps community members through her work at the Women’s Muslim Coalition.

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