From as young an age as I can remember, whenever I have been asked the question “who is my hero?” the only answer has been – Professor Parviz Habibi.
My first encounter with Parviz came in January 1998, when I was just nine months old. Parviz had just finished a long night shift when I was brought into the Unbooked Clinic at St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington, London.
I had one of the most severe cases of meningococcal septicaemia kicking in and my body had gone into septic shock – Parviz did not hesitate – he instantly clocked back in and worked through the night to save this critically ill baby… one of hundreds of lives he has saved over the last few decades.
Over the next three and a half months, Parviz and his dedicated team, used all their skills (and probably found some new ones), to save my life – not once but seven times. I did end up losing my leg and most of my fingers but it is no exaggeration that without him I would not be alive today. I had multi-organ failure and there were a significant number of complications. My mother always tells me how she used to sit day in day out staring at all the stickers saying ‘COSMIC’ on every piece of equipment in the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit – a charity started by Parviz and his wife Beverley. Parviz not only has amazing skills as a doctor but also in raising the money for the actual equipment he and his team need to do their job in the unit; equipment without which I could not have survived. COSMIC, the charity that he founded, and still leads, has gone on to save countless lives, limbs, and families.
Parviz, my family and I have remained in close contact and he has never ceased to amaze me, especially with the dedication he applies to his charitable work. He is constantly looking for new ways to help people with unrelenting enthusiasm.
I was fortunate enough to accompany him as a member of the crew on his four man, two-way relay of the English Channel in 2014. Watching Parviz battle the seas, whilst being there for him in between swims, only strengthened the unique bond the two of us have. Since then, he has gone on to swim the Channel twice more, including solo in 2016. All of these heroic feats alone have been done to raise more than £70,000 for children’s lung disease; all in his “spare” time!
All heroes have super powers – Parviz has his own unique set and for these I will be eternally grateful and so will so many other people who have followed in my footstep.”
Patrick Kane (aka The Bionic Boy)