Fundraiser helps refugee claimant undergoing cancer treatment

About $600 was raised Monday night during a fundraising event to help a refugee claimant battling cancer.

Saleem Akhtar, who is originally from Pakistan, arrived in Saskatoon this summer and was soon diagnosed with cancer. Federal officials refused to provide coverage for elements of his treatment.

Since then the province has moved to provide coverage for his medical needs.

He has also been given assistance by a group of people in Saskatoon.

They were also behind the fundraiser Monday which was held at St. Paul's Catholic Cathedral.

"They are angels," Akhtar said of those who have been helping him. "I have one desire: just help me help my family to come here that's it. I'm alive when they come."

Akhtar is awaiting determination of his refugee claim.

Akhtar is a Christian and he says he was shot in Pakistan for refusing to convert to Islam.

The money raised Monday will help offset some of Akhtar's legal fees and some may also be sent to his wife and sons in Pakistan.

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