“Worldwide Child Day” is nothing short of a disgrace, when many kids around the world are not getting their simplest right, the right to live! In this day, it is important to shed a light on our heroes, cancer patients, in Gaza. Not only they fight cancer day in day out, they fight a more cruel war, they fight the greed of politics, they fight injustice, ugliness and ignorance of the leaders who are not worth a Gazan child’s shoe. These leaders who decide which child gets a permit to get cancer treatment, and which children don’t. these children, full of dignity, hope and strength fighting cancer each day, face this cruelty. This is a crime.
When I was a little kid, I used to think that life is fair, and that everyone gets a fair chance in life. However, when my sister Mariam got cancer, we were exposed to an ugly picture: A world full of obstacles and hardships and an interlace of emotions: Anger, joy, fear and hope. Each day you think you get used to these feelings, but you never really do. Especially when you witness heroes passing away after a long fight to cancer. It strikes you every time all over again. All these emotions and adventures as I like to call them, we, as a family, went through them having all the abilities and comforts of life, and it was the hardest thing we ever went through. After my sister passed away, it ignited the spark in me to in cooperate Mariam Foundation, out of sadness and ache.
Imagine, not having any of these comforts or abilities to travel and get back to a safe home after a long day of chemotherapy, not having a family member by your side to comfort you, not having any of these. How that would feel? Gaza children who have no basic human rights of life and health, are facing the cruelty of this mad world, on top of their fight against cancer, are fighting for a chance to get a permit to have cancer treatments. Why, on top of their hardest fight on their life, have to convince someone they require their basic human rights! This is madness. After a child gets a permit, the story does not end there. Many times, their parents do not get a permit to accompany them, so they need to find someone else to be them, sometimes a complete stranger. Are you imagining this happening? A 6-year-old child, away from home and family, with a stranger, spending weeks in not months getting cancer treatment when all he needs is the touch of his mother or the compassion of his father. What does the parents feel when their child is away? Where is the justice in this? Why children should fight of a basic human right?
To add to the hardship, many families and children are seeing their homes demolished through social media and know that even the home they had far away, is not there anymore, the home they left to fight for the life of their child, is destroyed with nowhere to go back to.
Despite all of these cruelties, we keep fighting for these kids and families, we are and will always be the supporting home they need, and that’s why Mariam Foundation came to be in the Palestinian community. One of our most important projects is Mariam Joy where university student accompany child cancer patients in hospitals for a tuition grant for their studies. These volunteers offer emotional support and try to be their second family away from home. This project is one of many projects to come. And at last, I have to thank our friends, and family, in the Augusta Victoria Hospital in Jerusalem who are the home of many children cancer patients fighting these fights. This hospital, with all of its staff and doctors, are god sent angels, offering children world class cancer treatment, and most importantly, a warm home. Thank you Mr. Waleed Nammour, Augusta Victoria’s Hospital Manager, you are a role model for our community.