Dubai: A seven-year-old Indian boy suffering from third stage cancer is on cloud nine after his wish to meet Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Executive Council, was fulfilled on Friday.
Abdullah Hussain from the south Indian city of Hyderabad had expressed his wish on social media to meet his idol Sheikh Hamdan, following which he was featured in a TV news report.
“Shaikh Hamdan is so cool, adventurous and so kind. I want to meet his pets and I want to see his dresses,” Abdullah said in a video while carrying a banner that read: “I am your fan Shaikh Hamdan. I want to meet you. I love Fazza.”
Speaking to Gulf News following the family’s meeting with Sheikh Hamdan on Friday, Abdullah’s mother Nausheen Fatima expressed the joy and gratitude of the boy and his family.
“Abdullah is all smiles after meeting His Highness. It was my boy’s biggest wish to meet him. Alhamdulillah, it has come true.”
She said the young fan has grown fonder of his idol after the meeting which went viral on social media after Sheikh Hamdan posted his picture with Abdullah on Instagram with the caption “Met this courageous boy today.”
“He has met his real life hero and all of us are so happy about this heart-touching initiative by the Crown Prince,” said Nausheen.
She said the family was touched by Sheikh Hamdan’s simplicity, kindness, the way he talked to Abdullah and his younger brother Ahmed, and his polite and playful nature.
“He first hugged Abdullah and said he is very happy to see him. He said Abdullah is very strong and advised us to encourage him to stay positive and always stand by him as a family.”
She said Sheikh Hamdan asked details about Abdullah’s treatment and the plans ahead.
“He is very generous. It didn’t feel like we were talking to the Crown Prince.”
When Sheikh Hamdan playfully said one of the two brothers has to stay in Dubai and only one can go back to India, four-yeard-old Ahmed, who is very attached to his mother, was perplexed. But Abdullah pointed his finger at Ahmed.
“First we thought he is saying he wants Ahmed to stay here. But he clarified to us that he meant to send Ahmed back home,” the mother said.
She said Abdullah also fell in love with the voice of Shaikh Hamdan. “He liked Sheikh Hamdan’s voice very much. He told me two three times about it.”
Abdullah’s father Mohd Tajamul Hussain, a businessman, had brought over a portrait of Sheikh Hamdan with a horse and golden replica of Charminar, an iconic monument in Hyderabad, for gifting them to the Crown Prince.
Sheikh Hamdan received the gifts and posed for pictures with the family during the 15-minute meeting, said Nausheen.
After that, the family spent more than an hour with Sheikh Hamdan’s pets.
Abdullah was also thrilled to see the giraffes, gazelles and elephants.
“He played with the elephants by feeding them and he also sat on the thigh of an elephant. Though he had been to zoos earlier, he had never got such a chance,” said Nausheen.
Story of his fandom
Nausheen shared the story of how it all began. Though his parents knew about Shaikh Hamdan and his mother was following him on Instagram, it was through YouTube that Abdullah first watched a video of Sheikh Hamdan, she said.
It was in January after the grade one student stopped going to school due to his illness that he started spending his time watching YouTube videos.
The family had discovered his disease in December after a lump appeared in his neck and started growing big.
“It was only after the surgery and biopsy that we got to know about his disease. He still doesn’t know about it. After the news report came out, he was asking about cancer. We only told him that he has some bad cells in his body.”
Nausheen said Abdullah instantly became a Fazza fan. “He kept on watching many videos about him and started saying he is his hero. He badly wanted to see him.”
During the exhausting course of chemotherapy, she said the parents took the name of Shaikh Hamdan and Avengers superheroes to divert Abdullah’s attention to ease his pain.
“I used to say what if the Sheikh calls you soon and he would turn happy and hopeful.”
She said the family is grateful that their ailing son’s wish has been granted.
During their Dubai trip, they are also taking Abdullah and his two younger siblings, including a toddler sister, to major tourist spots.
“We went to Burj Khalifa, Dubai Frame and Jumeirah Beach yesterday. Today we are going to IMG [Worlds of Adventure]. Tomorrow we are going for desert safari and we are returning on Monday. We don’t want to make Abdullah feel like a patient and we hope all these will keep him happy,” she added.