PETRONAS brings hope to 20yo Miri youth with cerebral palsy and autism

Asfarian helping Nuzul to put on the special shoes.

By DayakDaily Team

MIRI, May 27: Asfarina Asma, 47, watched her 20-year-old son Muhammad Nuzul Zulkarnain struggle to overcome the challenges of cerebral palsy and autism. His days were filled with pain and uncertainty as his body betrayed him at every twist and turn.

“One of the biggest challenges Nuzul faced was the curvature of his leg. It caused him constant pain and agony,” said Asfarina.


Born prematurely, weighing only 900 grammes, Nuzul was diagnosed with cerebral palsy hemiplegia, which causes tightness of muscle on one side of his body due to damage in the brain.

Asfarina looked back on the day she gave birth when she found out that her baby boy would be born with special needs.

“At first, of course, I am a human being, I couldn’t accept it.”

But eventually, the nurses moved her to the Special Care Nursery and slowly she began to accept her son’s condition. Nuzul was so small and fragile, and they spent most of their time in the hospital, going in and out for half-a-year.

“That’s when I felt it was really a special journey for me,” said Asfarina, who works with an oil & gas service provider in Miri.

“It was a bumpy road. Going in and out of the hospital, getting seizures and other sicknesses along the way, but Nuzul really taught me how to face and overcome life challenges. I became more patient and content with all these challenges,” she added.

Tears welled up in her eyes, but she smiled through them.

“Nuzul is a blessing,” she said.

“He taught me so much about life, and I wouldn’t trade this journey for anything else.”

Nuzul’s medical condition made it difficult for him to walk, and he often experienced pain in his feet. The leg deformity is a result of the muscle tightness, which gave him tantrums due to the exhausting nature of the condition. Living with hydrocephalus syndrome, Nuzul uses a wheelchair to aid his mobility.

Asfarina recounted Nuzul’s early years when, at just seven, he underwent surgery to lengthen the muscle in his tip-toed leg. Unfortunately, that was his last surgery as he could not bear the pain anymore.

“When the doctor suggested another surgery to restructure Nuzul’s leg, we knew it would be a painful process. But Nuzul could not bear the thought of more pain, so we decided to opt for a customised shoe instead. It may not be a perfect solution, but it allows him to move around with less pain and more comfort,” said Asfarina.

Asfarina had long dreamed of purchasing a pair of customised shoes for Nuzul from Madonna Ortho & Neuro Rehab. She found out about the shoes in 2019, and since then has been in constant communication with the company.

The opportunity came when she submitted Nuzul’s wish list for the PETRONAS 50 Dreams initiative, which aims to fulfil the dreams of selected participants nationwide.

“I never imagine PETRONAS would step forward to make my son’s dreams a reality. The gesture was overwhelming, a testament to the company’s commitment to helping those in need,” she said.

With the help of PETRONAS, Madonna Pereira, the owner of the customised shoes company, flew all the way from Kuala Lumpur to Miri to take Nuzul’s foot measurements.

“I was surprised when PETRONAS decided to give Nuzul the customised shoes. I never thought that we deserved this kind of gift. But then, the PETRONAS management was so eager to help Nuzul and I felt so touched. I truly appreciate PETRONAS efforts in making our dreams a reality,” said Asfarina.

With customised shoes, Nuzul is now able to walk the extra miles with less pain in his legs. — DayakDaily