Sharjah: Timely help when extended to those in need can truly make a world of difference. This is no rhetoric.
When Friends of Cancer Patients (FOCP), a charitable society dedicated to providing support to cancer patients and their families in the UAE, recently launched its annual Zakat fundraising campaign to extend assistance to financially-burdened cancer patients during Ramadan, little would the donors have known the extent to which they were able to help patients.
In a rare feedback, four cancer patients under FOCP spoke to Gulf News and shared their tales of their hopes being revived, thanks to the moral and financial support they received.
Amal Al Souss: The help she got kept her motivated to fight cancer
Amal Al Souss’ cancer journey is testament to the power of a positive mindset and unwavering faith in the face of adversity. The Lebanese mother of five underwent surgery and 16 chemotherapy sessions before getting the all-clear bill. The determination, persistence and spirit of the 59-year-old’s inspired her to face her cancer diagnosis head on.
Al Souss continued to support and inspire others by seeking support from the FOCP amidst which she was diagnosed with cancer again in less than three years. The association provided financial and moral support that kept her motivated and determined to fight the disease through regular screenings and medications that she has to take indefinitely.
She said, “I am amazed by the FOCP’s team approach to patients who apply for support. They have high ethics and professionalism, helping patients become optimism about their condition. With their continuous support, I felt that they are like a caring family.”
Rafa Safwan: Moral support is as important as financial support
Despite facing a multitude of health challenges, UAE-based Rafa Safwan remains an inspiring figure of strength and perseverance. Her unwavering determination and strong spirit have allowed her to overcome nine surgeries and chemotherapy sessions, as well as the spread of the disease throughout her body.
Safwan temporarily lost her ability to move and used a wheelchair. However, she remained steadfast in her devotion to her five children, maintaining a positive attitude and strong faith.
The obstacles Rafa has faced during her illness have not deterred her from embracing hope. She has received comprehensive assistance from the FOCP, including her treatment and medication costs being covered, which kept her spirits high to inspire and help others.
“I feel a great improvement in my psychological state, as FOCP made me feel like I am among my own family. The most important thing is psychological support - the activities and events they have make cancer patients like me feel like normal human beings,” said Rafa.
Osman Ahmed: Support received can be life-changing
Osman Ahmed Osman, a Sudanese security guard, is the sole provider for his family and two young children in Sudan, who could not offer him enough emotional support in his cancer journey due to the distance that separated them.
Unable to bear the cost of his cancer treatment, Osman reached out to FOCP on doctors’ advice. The Sharjah-based organisation assisted him in flying down with his wife and children to stay with him during his treatment, which contributed to having a positive attitude and determination to fight the disease. The moral and financial support he received were life-changing, he said.
“Without this support, I would not have been able to overcome this difficult stage in my life,” Othman said.
Mohammed Al Jishi: When help exceeded expectations
The role of genetic factors as a cause of cancer is well-established, especially within families with a history of first-degree relatives being affected. This was the case with Mohammed Al Jishi, a Palestinian sports coach who supports a wife and a two-year-old daughter.
He experienced recurrent colon cancer and witnessed the loss of several close family members diagnosed with different types of cancer. Notably, his three uncles and brother were all diagnosed with cancer, and his eldest son was diagnosed with lymphoma at nine. Furthermore, his older brother was diagnosed with jaw cancer before Al Jishi discovered his colon cancer.
Mohammed sought the assistance of FOCP, which provided him with financial support to continue his treatment and undergo necessary surgery. They also ensured that all his medical needs were met, enabling him to recover significantly and return to his work as a sports coach with renewed confidence and optimism in overcoming life’s challenges.
“I didn’t know what to do. FOCP’s reputation was well-known. Their support and assistance exceeded my needs, and their team showed great understanding of my situation and my family’s condition,” said Al Jishi.