Zhubin was, from the very beginning and throughout his short life, unusually caring, curious, thorough, self-disciplined, and at times, very funny. He was also brilliant, approaching things with great thought and detailed, meticulous study.
But Zhubin was also plagued, almost from birth, with a condition that manifested itself, initially, by an inability to get the proper amount of sleep. Over time, his sleep patterns became more and more distorted so much, so that by Grade 10 Zhubin would often sleep upon returning from school in the afternoon until the late evening. He would then wake up, have dinner, and work on his homework until it was time to go to school the next morning. Coupled with the sleep disorder, Zhubin's mental state deteriorated slowly but progressively. Despite continual visits to all kinds of specialists both in Canada and in the United States no clear diagnosis or effective cure could be found. Specialists likened Zhubin's sleep pattern to having to put up with 5 or more hours of jet lag, 5 out of 6 days. Zhubin suffered from constant headaches, joint pain and sundry other side effects from the up-to-40 pills a day he was taking.
Needless to say, the care Zhubin required from his mother had to be constant and intense. With the support of her husband, Zhubin's father and extended family there was the continual search for those elusive specialists who could offer some kind of relief for her son or at least some answers to this puzzling disorder. Being with him during those periods of sleeplessness, encouraging him, caring for him, Simin was not only mother to her son, but they also became best friends. Her life had to revolve around Zhubin's. As Zhubin's condition deteriorated, it fell to her to bear each and every mood swing, each and every excruciating headache. It was she who grew adept at accurately reading at a single glance the non-verbal clues that gauged the degree of her son's pain.
Yet despite these many challenges Zhubin, with the encouragement of his family, struggled to stay connected. He worked out at the local gym, tried to continue his oft-interrupted studies, even had a part-time job for a time. Throughout his difficult struggle, perhaps in part because of it, Zhubin shared with his mother - in conversation, in writing and by charitable deeds - a life philosophy that focused on faith and the importance of helping others.
But Zhubin could not sustain his struggle indefinitely. He was well aware of his condition; that it was incurable, that it was terminal. On May 11, 2002 he took his own life. Zhubin was 21 years old.
Inspired by Zhubin's hopeful and gentle philosophy of people helping people, coupled with a profound understanding of the effects on a family living with a child with special needs, The Zhubin Foundation was created in May, 2003 as a tribute to an exceptional human being and to all families who prevail.
A more detailed account of Zhubin’s story can now be found in Simin’s book “Finding Blossoms in the Darkness".