Dubai: Children who received treatment support from Al Jalila Foundation celebrated Christmas early by decorating cookies and giving a message of hope.
The children suffering from various ailments took the opportunity of the festive season to spread cheer and positivity. The event by Raffles involved the children decorating cookies and returning home with a teddy bear.
Rishaan Kumar, 6, from India, said he had a good time bonding with everyone at the event organised by Al Jalila Foundation. Rishaan, who was born with a congenital posterior urethral valve and who underwent a kidney treatment and surgery with the support of the Foundation, said he loved meeting other children and dressing the cookies.
“It was fun and a big surprise. We laughed a lot and the best part was that I got a teddy bear as a gift too,” he added. Kumar said there were Christmas cookies and ginger bread man to decorate. “I used a lot of sprinkles to decorate the bread.”
His mother Swapna said she was happy to see her son mingle with other children. “They laughed and looked like super chefs on the day,” she added.
Swapna said Rishaan was given a new lease of life thanks to the Foundation and wanted to attend the Christmas event to show how well he was doing.
“It was a way to give back to the Foundation that did so much for us. The staff of Al Jalila was there. And they cheered on the children.”
Message for parents
Rishaan was born with blocked kidneys as a result of which his urine output was not complete. He was storing urine in his system which resulted in his body becoming infected. “He had to undergo surgeries, which was very expensive. But the support we received transformed his life,” Swapna said.
Swapna added that she and her son attended the Christmas event to give a message to parents of ailing children.
“Don’t hesitate to ask for help, for there is help around. Many parents feel shy to seek financial help for their children. This can only deteriorate the health of your child. So go and find help for your child.”
Rebecca Ooga, a mother from Cameroon, was also at the event with her two year old son Jayden. “ I was lucky to get help for my son from the Foundation. The Christmas event was our way of showing our support back to the Foundation,” she said.
“It was nice that the Foundation remembered us and called us for the gathering. It was so lovely to see Jayden among other children.”
She added that said mothers with ailing children need not feel lonely in their journey.
“There is much support available – whether it is for financial or emotional support. One needs to ask and see out the help. Children and parents should have hope and belief. It all works then,” Rebecca said.
That is also mantra for 11-year-old Sri Lankan student Lakduli Chesadi, who has been diagnosed with a life-long condition – Juvenille dermatomyositis. “If you believe you will be well, you will be well. I am feeling much better now than I did before. My treatment and medication is on and I hope to be better,” Lakduli said.
“The Christmas event was so successful. We had a lot of fun. We took many photos and videos. It was amazing.”
Filipina Hana Sarmiento, who received the gift of her life in 2014 with a Cochlear Implant, said she has never been happier. “I could never hear. Now I can. It is such a precious gift I received. I decided to go to the Christmas event to meet other children and tell them about my story. There is hope, love and immense support out there. We have to look out for it,” she said.
Hana, who studies in Grade 5, said every Christmas is special. “But this year was extra special with the little party we had. I got to meet so many children with different ailments. It just made me think how strong and brave we all are.”
She added: “I am happy the way I was created. We must learn to accept and love ourselves. Never lose hope for God will send someone to be your hero.”