Egyptian children attend a festivity held by Resala Charity to mark the World Cancer Day in Cairo, Egypt on Feb. 4, 2017. Most of the children at the open air festivity came from 10-year-old Children's Cancer Hospital Foundation (CCHF), known as 57357, which is the largest hospital of the kind in the Middle East and Africa. Opening in mid-2007 through donations and civil society efforts, the 260-bed 57357 Hospital for children with cancer managed to raise the survival rate from 50 percent over the past decade to about 75 percent at present. (Xinhua/Ahmed Gomaa)
by Mahmoud Fouly
CAIRO, Feb. 4 (Xinhua) -- "I lost my sight during chemotherapy, but it is OK. With hope, challenge and will, I went through two stages of treatment and survived the illness," said 14-year-old Silwan Nasr-Eddin while surrounded by dozens of cancer children joyfully marking the World Cancer Day.
The teen cancer survival has been acting as a show presenter at a party held by Resala Charity Organization at Mohamed Ali Palace overlooking the Nile River in Giza province near downtown Cairo, while her fellows have been playing, dancing and listening to kids' songs.
"It's surely difficult to be blind after once having sight. I had a tumor in the sight nerve inside the brain that completely damaged my sight. However, with hope and challenge, nothing can break a person," the girl told Xinhua at the palace yard, while Mickey Mouse was dancing to entertain the children.
Most of the children at the open air festivity came from 10-year-old Children's Cancer Hospital Foundation (CCHF), known as 57357, which is the largest hospital of the kind in the Middle East and Africa.
Nasr-Eddin said that she could not focus during her elementary school because of the chemotherapy, but when she joined preparatory school she felt much better as she survived the hardest stage of her life.
She noted it was exhausting for her and her parents to repeatedly move between Upper Egypt's Luxor where she lives and the capital Cairo to receive chemotherapy.
Mahmoud Gehad, a young man in charge of "Wishes Realization" activity at Resala charity, said that his charity marks the day by such a festivity that includes a puppet show to make children happy, then an anti-cancer awareness symposium and finally a workshop for children to make accessories by their own hands and take them as gifts to increase their creativity.
"We also encourage parents and families to let their children continue education regardless of their chemotherapies and radiotherapies, for their children's sickness is a temporary stage that they will hopefully overcome," Megahed told Xinhua, noting the celebration is joined by at least 60 children besides their family members.
During the show, dressed up cartoon characters danced with children hand in hand while Mickey Mouse carried a little girl and kept spinning at the grassy main yard of the elegant palace at Manial district of Giza, where colorful balloons were hanging in the yard corners.
In a rolling chair, Karim Hesham, 15, said he was very happy he joined the party and enjoyed the puppets and the songs, wishing speedy recovery for all people suffering cancer including himself.
"I would like to be a military officer when I grow up," the boy said despite his immobilization and heavy tongue, and then he went on repeating after a song playing in the background about good boys who listen to their elders.
For her part, Hesham's mother, Hanan Mohamed, explained that her son has a tumor at the pituitary glade that affects his sight, noting he had gone through 17 surgeries and he once went through a coma for two months and a half that they thought he was clinically dead.
Opening in mid-2007 through donations and civil society efforts, the 260-bed 57357 Hospital for children with cancer managed to raise the survival rate from 50 percent over the past decade to about 75 percent at present.
"My son has been suffering for seven years, but radiation obliterated the tumor in the end. Now he's one of the survivals and we only come to 57357 Hospital for a follow up," the boy's mother told Xinhua.