CHILDHOOD CANCER SURVIVORS STORIES
CHANCE created the first Childhood Cancer Survivors Group in Lebanon in 2015. Our survivors are a tribute to Chance success stories.
Elena Al Mawla
When I was 1 year and 2 months old, I went to my pediatrician for a common vaccination. During the exam, my doctor sensed that something was wrong with one of my kidneys. I had an abdominal ultrasound which showed a tumor in the adrenal gland on top of the kidney, a tumor called Neuroblastoma. I had six months of chemotherapy, two operations followed by radiotherapy and I was cured! However, I kept on undergoing regular tests for 3 years. Three years later, a tumor was discovered on my thyroid gland. I had to undergo a ten-hour operation. After that, I spent five days in the intensive care unit and I did well. These fights made me stronger, made me appreciate life more. I want to thank my family, my doctors, CHANCE for the second chance and the second life I had. I felt that I was born again! Now I am sixteen years old. I can enjoy life, help others, study, live… Proud to be a SURVIVOR!
The completion of treatment is not really the end of battling childhood cancer. It is just the beginning of new challenges and diverse difficulties which keep us from living happy, meaningful and productive lives. Thus, the survivors of Asia ask you to inform and educate parents, survivors, medical professionals and the community about late effects and how it impacts the lives of survivors. We also urge you to work with us in breaking misconceptions and false beliefs about childhood cancer. At times, we feel people look at us as if we are not normal, as if we are not capable and as if we are not part of the community. We currently experience discrimination in employment, getting insurance coverage and opportunities for advanced education and training. We need your help to advocate for reforms and changes in laws so we can fully and freely be who we are and become the best we can be. We believe that as survivors, having conquered childhood cancer, we can be as strong, talented and successful as anybody, if you support us and be with us. We ask you to make available additional resources, programs and services to help us build, grow and maximize our skills and talents. We also ask you to create and strengthen follow up care clinics and services to ensure quality healthcare to survivors on their lifelong journeys. Finally, it is important that survivors feel that they are not alone. We encourage you to create opportunities for survivors to come together, inspiring and nurturing each other. We invite all of you to SPEAK OUT and STAND UP for survivors as we all know - TOGETHER, UNITED, WE ARE STRONGER! Thank you!
My name is Hadi. I was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 8. It was a very difficult experience that I wish no one would have to deal with. First, I felt that I couldn’t sleep at all, my whole body started hurting me even when I played outside my house in the Bekaa. I was feeling very tired in a short period of time. I underwent some testing and it showed that my immunity is very low and my white blood cells were not normal. We contacted Dr. Roula Farah immediately, who diagnosed me with Leukemia, a blood cancer. At this moment, my whole life changed from being a child that loves to play to a child that wants this disease to get out of his body. I had a different perception of life. I started my therapy, and started fighting cancer everyday, to finally destroy this disease and become a stronger person. Thank you to doctor Roula Farah and the association CHANCE that helped me and stayed with me in every step of my battle against cancer. Cancer didn’t affect my ambition in studying hard and going after my dreams. I am so thankful for everyone that helped me in this journey, thanks to you I’m now a better person!
Sheryl Abi Rashed
No words can express how I feel to be a childhood cancer survivor. I am grateful for everything I was and everything I am now.
My name is Marianna Younes and I’m a CANCER Survivor. I was 5 years old when my parents discovered that I have leukemia. From that moment, a fighter’s spirit was born inside of me. It was really hard and shocking for all our family members, to be living such an experience in a society, that saw me fighting, and others that were torn between pity and compassion. Unfortunately, I was not able to live a normal childhood, I couldn’t run around with the other children, go out with my friends, live the way a child should be living. But nevertheless, even with my painful treatment, the long nights, the dark side and the bright, the bad memories and the good, this experience has shaped me into the warrior. Hopeful, ambitious, healthy, here I am today. Last but not least, I would like to say THANK YOU to my family, friends, my doctors, CHANCE and JESUS, who were by my side, and gave me the strength to fight for my life with everything I had, and it’s thanks to them, that I’m here today, giving my testimony.
I battled cancer at the age of 11 and won. My fight was hard, it took a year a half of chemotherapy and six surgeries. The battle against cancer changed my perception of life and how I should live it. I focused on my education and I am soon to be a college graduate and medical student. My journey taught me that the difficulties do not stop when the battle with cancer ends. My scars are a living memory that remind me everyday why we should keep fighting cancer !! Finally, today I am a SURVIVOR!