Rahma Haruna had dreams like any other teenager. However, the 19-year-old from Kano, Nigeria, will never see those dreams realized, as she died on Christmas day.
When Rahma was born, she seemed totally healthy. But after six months, she stopped hitting key development milestones, according to the Daily Mail.
Her mother Fadi said, “She started with a fever and that was it. Then stomach pains. Then her body parts like hands and legs. She cannot use any if the ache strikes.”
Rahma’s story became international news after photojournalist Sani Maikatanga shared a photo of Rahma in her plastic bucket, carried by her 10-year-old brother.
That photo also helped improve Rahma’s life in tangible ways. Fadi said, “He snapped our photo and it was published in the local papers. Since then we have been getting help from people.” One stranger even gifted Rahma a wheelchair, allowing her brother to freely wheel her about the village.
Despite her life challenges, earlier this year Rahma shared her hopes for the future. “I want to start a business. A grocery store and anything people buy, that is what I want.”
Her father Hussaini explained to Daily Mail that he’d spent countless dollars on researching her condition, but doctors are totally baffled. “I’ve spent 15 years searching for the cure. I farm, go to the market and lots more, looking for money to pay for her bills.”
“I sold almost everything in my possession. I have spent more than one million naira [Nigerian currency] so far. Only God knows the real amount of what I have spent.”
Sadly, the photojournalist who first made Rahma famous has shared awful news. Rahma Haruna has died after a brief illness. Maikatanga shared news of the 19-year-old’s death on his social media, writing, “Rahma Haruna a 19 years old girl has pass away on Sunday 25th of December 2016… may Almighty grant her Jannatul Firdausi [Paradise]…ameen [sic].”
Though the rest of her body stopped growing, Rahma’s head grew to normal teenage size. It is believed that she was in constant pain because of her condition and was unable to keep herself upright without the use of the plastic bowl.