Woman left one instruction for Liverpool FC ticket in case she died abroad

A Liverpool fan said she didn't write a will before she flew out to Gaza to save children as she only cared about who would get her match ticket if she didn’t return home.

Dr Ana Jeelani, a consultant paediatric orthopaedic surgeon at Alder Hey, went on a secret two-week volunteer placement at Al-Aqsa hospital in March. The 38 year old, from Didsbury, kept her plans under wraps until her departure to prevent loved ones from dissuading her.

Despite not arranging a will before venturing into the conflict zone, Dr Jeelani did ensure one thing was taken care of - her highly sought-after Liverpool FC ticket.

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The passionate fan wanted to guarantee that her ticket for Liverpool's game against Wolverhampton at Anfield on Sunday (May 19), which marked Jurgen Klopp's final match as manager, would be in safe hands, reports the Manchester Evening News.

"People asked me if I had made a will," she shared. "The only thing I made provisions for in case I didn't come back was my ticket to Jurgen Klopp's final match at Anfield. I got it for about £47 in the ballot but then it was worth something like £20,000."

"Only one person has access to my account apart from me. I told him 'If I die, my ticket can't be sold,' and I gave him a list of true supporters who could take it.

"Beyond that, I didn't really think about whether or not I might come back from Gaza. You just don't know there's no pattern to this conflict. I just thought, if my time's come, my time's come. I've done something worthwhile, and equally you could die being hit by a bus in Didsbury.

"If you're going to go, you might as well do something you'd be proud of. Wherever you stand on the conflict, 15,000 children are dead and we're children's doctors. We can't ignore that."

Ana reveals she kept her departure plans secret from her family until the last moment, with her parents pleading with her not to leave out of fear she wouldn't return.

"I only told my parents I was going shortly before I left," she admitted. "In fact, I got my sister to tell them.

"They pleaded with me not to go. My mum rang me in floods of tears saying, 'Don't go, why are you doing this to us?

"But they also knew that I had the resolve and I was going to go. They were frantic with worry, but they're also very proud."

Ana explains that she felt compelled to help after witnessing the horrors unfolding in Gaza through the media.

Before flying out with MAP, Medical Aid for Palestinians, she underwent two days of security training in Egypt, learning vital skills such as how to react if taken hostage and how to escape from under rubble.

Returning to the UK, Ana faced sleepless nights. The trauma she witnessed left Ana suffering from insomnia for two weeks upon her return to the UK.

She said: "Alder Hey were really supportive of me going. Giving me humanitarian leave to go and arranging counselling when I got back. I had very bad insomnia for about two weeks afterwards but what has really helped, as well as the counselling, is staying in touch with the team.

"We had such a good team and all got on really well. We speak most days on WhatsApp. It really helps to speak to others who have been through the same thing, who have that shared experience."

Despite the grim circumstances, Ana found moments of lightness. She said: "There were always moments of simple joy to be had. We felt like a proper family. I never felt homesick. I have left my heart there. I don't think I can ever fully mentally recover from it until the situation is over.

"The children are brilliant. There was this little kid who would follow me around in his wheelchair. He was so cute. His family had been killed and he was being looked after by the people in the next beds to him. They all look after each other.

"When we left, we gave them everything. We gave them our suitcases, our shoes, some gave their phones. We arrived with 52 suitcases in as a team of seven full of supplies, we left with one each. Anything we had on us, we gave."

Reflecting on the impact of their visit, she said: "When we were leaving, a guy said that even if we hadn't operated on a single patient, the fact that we came here and let them know that they're not alone means more than anything.

"Everything on social media depicts the horrors, but it doesn't depict the heart."