(MENAFN- Khaleej Times) Published: Wed 27 Sep 2023, 10:46 AM
Faris Ahmed AlZeyoudi, a 14-year-old Emirati boy, has emerged victorious from the months-long fight against cancer. And he is now setting his sights on a new mission: becoming an army soldier to serve his beloved nation.
During childhood cancer awareness month, Khaleej Times spoke to families of two brave cancer survivors, whose remarkable recovery will not only inspire countless others facing similar challenges but serve as a reminder that with the right medical expertise, unwavering support, and courage, all obstacles can be overcome.
In Faris' case, he was beset by a persistent chest cough and allergies that persisted for three weeks in the early months of this year. As his condition worsened, his parents rushed him to the emergency room of a hospital in Abu Dhabi.
The diagnostic interventions, including blood tests and radiological examinations, led to a disconcerting revelation: there was a mass nestled within his chest. The family was in a state of shock and uncertainty as they came to know that he had stage-IV Hodgkin's lymphoma.
He was transferred to Burjeel Medical City for advanced treatment. There, Faris underwent rounds of chemotherapy and other medical interventions while maintaining an unbreakable spirit that inspired those around him. His family, comprising supportive parents and siblings, rallied around him, providing love and encouragement throughout his treatment.
“Even when he was at his weakest, Faris would talk about his dream of becoming a soldier. He told us that he wanted to protect his country and make us proud,” Shamis AlZeyoudi, Faris' brother, said with a tearful smile.
And Faris emerged victorious after around eight months of battle against cancer. He was treated by Dr Zainul Aabideen, consultant, paediatric, and head of paediatric haematology, oncology, and bone marrow transplant at Burjeel Medical City.
Dr Zainul Aabideen Another inspiring survivor
Another heartwarming story is of Jordanian girl Ghazal, who was only five years old when she was detected with stage-II Hodgkin's lymphoma. However, after seven months of treatment, she has beaten the big C too. Her battle with cancer started at the beginning of this year when her parents noticed a persistent lump in her neck. Three months after regular checkups, her parents decided to proceed with a biopsy, which revealed the cancer.
Despite the distressing news, the family found solace in finally knowing what they were up against and, more importantly, in their daughter's indomitable spirit.
Ghazal's father, Jehad Marrar, lauded his daughter's strength and resilience during those challenging times.“Our little Ghazal has shown courage beyond her years. She faced the adversary with a smile on her face, and her bravery inspires us every day,” he said, his voice filled with pride and admiration.
Timely treatment helps
From the moment Faris and Ghazal were diagnosed with cancer, they embarked on a remarkable journey that would test their strength and that of their families, ultimately leading them toward recovery. With support from their families and the expert team of doctors and nurses, both young warriors have reclaimed their lives and are enjoying the joys of childhood.
According to Dr Zainul, Hodgkin's lymphoma is a type of cancer that can affect children at any age but is more common in older teens and young adults.
“Lymphomas can start anywhere in the lymphatic system such as the neck, above the collarbone, armpit, groin, and inside the chest and abdomen,” Dr Zainul said, adding that the first sign of the disease is usually a painless swelling of one, or a group of lymph glands, which continue to grow for some weeks or even months.
“Both Faris and Ghazal have displayed an unwavering spirit and resilience, surpassing the challenges that cancer brings. Their remarkable progress has been a testament to their strength and how timely treatment can help children with lymphoma. The cure rate of Hodgkin's lymphoma is very high. Therefore, it is rare that it would come back after treatment,” Dr Zainul added.
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