Image Credit: twitter.com

Manama: A Saudi businessman has shaved his head and dyed his beard pink in support of his wife, Dema, and everyone else fighting cancer.

Samer Kurdi also launched #SuperDema to rally support for cancer fighters and promote awareness about the disease and ways to deal with it. One tweet said that Dema was struck by cancer for the second time and that some of her relatives had died from the disease.

Several young entrepreneurs readily expressed their sympathy and followed Jeddah-based Samer in dying their beards pink, posting their pictures with him. Social media users mostly hailed the move as a strong public reaction by a loving husband in a society where men do not tend to show affection publicly. “You are a super hero, my friend,” Helmi Natto tweeted.  Another user said that he wished he could come out in the open with such initiatives. “The cultural and ethnic diversity in Jeddah allows such pleasant and unusual behaviours in our conservative society, thanking Jeddah and its wonderful people for breaking the routine within the limits of religious logic,” he posted.The Red Sea city is often credited with being among the most liberal in the Saudi kingdom.

Other users expressed pride with the initiative and offered Dema and all cancer fighters prayers for a prompt recovery. However, some users resisted Samer’s idea, insisting that it was totally alien to the local society and that it would not help cure patients.

Gulf cancer patients and their relatives and friends are now more open to sharing experiences, forming support groups and being active in awareness campaigns.

Last week, Dayana Al Shaikh, one of Bahrain’s most active a cancer fighters, issued a book in which she narrated her journey through three cancers. In her book, authored by Kuwaiti writer Eman Almousawi, Dayana explained how she refused to define her life around cancer and insisted that life’s humps and bumps should not stop people with cancer from living their dreams and going forward with their ambitions and aspirations. “When I knew I had cancer, I made my choice. I was not going to let it beat me and reduce my life to a series of dramas. I was not going to hate my body because of cancer. I was not willing to compromise my way of living,” she said in her book.

“My character as a fighter and as a practical person told me that I should move forward with my life. There will be some changes, of course, but I had the mental, physical and moral readiness to go on. I did what I could do best: Deal with situations and not run away from them. I faced cancer and made sure that it would not defeat me or even frighten me.”

Profound faith in God was the secret for her to accept her fate, she added. “Devotion to God made me see cancer as an easily curable wound. I did not allow it to gain any redoubtable proportions in my mind or terrifying perception in my eyes. God willed it to be, so there must be a reason that I might not have understood. But I accepted it,” she said.

“Despite the excruciating pains that were slicing their way to my bones, I was fully confident that the agonizing moments were taking me closer to God. As my body was subject to unbearable suffering, my faith was taking me on a marvelous spiritual journey, feeling God’s compassion and mercy, enjoying His protection, relishing in His shelter. The more uncomfortable the pain was, the deeper my faith became, and the greater my strength grew.”