When little Eman started to suffer a loss of appetite in addition to looking very pale and sallow, her mother’s first assumption was that it was the result of no longer breastfeeding her. However, when Eman’s symptoms started to get worse, her mother decided to take her to a doctor for a check-up. She asked the doctor to test Eman for jaundice, but the result was negative. As Eman’s condition continued to worsen, with high fevers and extreme fatigue, her mother insisted on a blood test but doctor after doctor could not seem to figure out what was wrong. Eventually, one doctor suggested a biopsy. After an endless ten day wait, the result of the biopsy finally came out, and it changed Eman and her family’s life forever.
The biopsy results revealed that Eman was suffering from acute leukemia. One of the first questions Eman’s father, Abu Ahmad asked the doctor was “How long does she have?” He had never imagined that one of his children would get diagnosed with cancer, and given the very negative things he had heard about the disease, he was expecting the worst from the very start.
Fortunately, Eman was able to start treatment at the King Hussein Cancer Center (KHCC) immediately, and her young body quickly responded. The course of her treatment was very long though, taking a total of three years. As the family’s sole breadwinner, Eman’s father had to work very long hours in order to be able to afford to take care of his family, leaving Eman’s mother to be her primary caregiver. This in turn meant that Eman’s mother was often away, accompanying her youngest daughter to the hospital for treatment and relying on her eldest daughter - who was barely 15 years old at the time - to care for the other children who were left behind. Cancer, and its long and difficult treatment, is a heavy burden not only on the patient but also on their loved ones. Eman’s family was no different; her parents’ frequent absences and Eman’s ongoing illness took a great toll on the family, both emotionally and financially…but hope kept them optimistic.
After three years, Eman completed her treatment and thankfully was entirely cured. Joy returned to Abu Ahmad’s family. Today, Eman is 11 years old and barely remembers her younger years and the major battle she faced with cancer. She is now one of the brightest students at school, and living proof that cancer can be beaten, and cured.
As a former patient of KHCC, Eman was one of 30 young patients invited to take part in the Dynamo Camp this past summer. Dynamo Camp is an annual summer camp in Italy structured specifically for children with serious or chronic illnesses. In the beginning, Eman’s mother was very hesitant to send her all the way to Italy, as Eman was so attached to her mother to the extent that she even still slept in the same bed with her and refused to sleep alone. However, as soon as she got on the plane, Eman found unexpected courage within herself. The ten days spent at Dynamo Camp were undoubtedly the best days of her life.
Eman’s mother said “When she came back from Dynamo Camp, I found that my shy, quiet daughter had completely transformed into a more daring and independent person. At the camp she learned so many new things, such as how to swim, climb, act on stage and make handicrafts, and even horse-ride. I could not believe this was the same Eman who used to become frightened and hide behind me whenever she saw a cat cross her path!”
Inspired by the kindness and care she received from doctors at KHCC, Eman dreams of becoming a pediatrician one day, so that she can also help sick children. When asked what message she had for children who are ill, Eman smiled and said: “Hope can be found everywhere!”
This story was last updated in 2012