Despite multiple health procedures since birth, Palm Harbor University High School student Zarin Hamid has defied the odds to graduate, and plans to attend St. Leo’s University where she’ll pursue a degree in Psychology.
“It’s a pretty remarkable feeling,” said Hamid. “I didn’t know I could make it this far, and to be able to do so, is pretty great.
Regardless of the health setbacks, Hamid, who uses only one lung and has limited vocal cord use, still managed to play a significant role in her high school as a board member of the model United Nations. She also belongs to the Health Occupation Students of America.
“I would eventually like to become a child-life therapist,” said Hamid. The resilient teen says she's interested in that line of work because she wants to give back to children who suffer from the same types of conditions she’s struggled with for years.
“I feel like I can connect to the kids,” said Hamid.
Hamid has persevered through multiple open heart surgeries, not to mention a transplanted heart at the age of 10 to reach this point. And, her mother is thrilled. “It’s a true miracle,” said Sayana Hamid. “It’s so uplifting, and it’s amazing that she’s made it this far.”
Zarin’s older sister Najia said that the experience has brought the family closer together. “It’s really helped the family grow,” she said.
Najia, who’s classically trained in Piano, performed a song from the Hallmark movie, "The Secret Garden" at Zarin’s graduation party Saturday night.
“This is a song that my sister asked me to record for her when she went in for her heart transplant,” said Najia before performing one of Frederic Chopin's Nocturnes.
In addition to her studies, Zarin is also an active volunteer at libraries and hospitals in Palm Harbor. She’s one of 46 students who received a Ronald McDonald House scholarship in 2009. The family also stayed at the charity’s New York location during her open heart surgeries. "Everyone was praying for her," said Sayana.
Friends and family held a graduation party for Zarin on Saturday night. Friends spoke about how they’ve seen Zarin progress over the years. “She’s grown so much more,” said Minahil Tareen. “She’s become really outgoing.”
Zarin is optimistic about college, and looks forward to giving others in her same situation hope through her own struggles. “I know it’s going to be challenging, and I hope to inspire other people,” She said.