It was spring 2007, and Mohammad was only a few weeks away from sitting for his Tawjihi exams when his neck started to hurt.
He had been spending hours bent over his textbooks, studying intensely, so he naturally assumed it was simply a matter of aching muscles.
"My father is a doctor. He took one look at the swelling in my neck and knew we needed a biopsy, but I suspect he knew it was cancer even before the results came back from the lab,” says Mohammad.
Mohammad was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma. "The doctor simply told me that I have cancer," says Mohammad, "and that there was no time to delay, I needed to start chemotherapy right away." Stunned and overwhelmed, Mohammad walked out of the doctor's office into the waiting room unable to hold back his tears. A gentleman came up to comfort him and encourage him. "His little girl had cancer too," says Mohammad. It was a moment that has stayed with him.
Mohammad began his treatment immediately at KHCC. "Everyone said you need a strong spirit to get over cancer, so I focused on staying positive.” But the physical side effects of chemotherapy were by no means minor. Exhaustion and nausea wracked his body. Sometimes, just turning over in bed was too painful to do. All his hair, including his eyebrows, fell out. But the worst he faced was hearing his father cry at night.
Despite all his suffering, Mohammad finally completed his treatment on November 14, 2007. It is a day he refers to as his new birthday and one that he celebrates every year.
After treatment, Mohammad faced a whole new chapter in his life. He started university, but felt a need to help other cancer patients. “When I had cancer, I had no one to talk to who really understood what I was going through. I wanted other cancer patients to know that I was there for them.” He quickly became one of the most energetic volunteers at KHCC, providing invaluable hope and encouragement to cancer patients and their families. “Survivors need to speak out more, to prove that cancer doesn’t mean the end.”
After graduating from university, Mohammad’s parents encouraged him to apply for work at major companies in Jordan, but Mohammad knew there was only one place he wanted to work at, where he could devote his time to the cause he was most passionate about: the King Hussein Cancer Foundation and Center. Mohammad is now a program assistant at the Foundation, helping to manage fundraising programs and still spends his spare time volunteering to lift the morale of cancer patients.
At the beginning of 2013, Mohammad celebrated five years being cancer-free and is looking forward to a bright future. “Having cancer taught me so much. I appreciate every moment and have more of a purpose in life now.”