“Our will is what kept us going, and we met determination with hope.” These words rang out in perfect harmony as they were sung by 22 young cancer survivors at the Hope Gala, a fundraising event hosted by the King Hussein Cancer Foundation in June 2012.
Ahmad was one of these survivors. As he sang, one thought kept running through his head: “My life is so much more beautiful after surviving cancer.”
Ahmad, a 25 year old, athletic young man led a very active life. He was very health conscious and loved to learn and read up on a wide range of interests. One day, after he got back from the gym, he felt some pain in his shoulder and arm but didn’t think anything of it, attributing it to a particularly strenuous session. However the pain persisted, and became a lot worse to the extent Ahmad went to the doctor to see what was wrong. After the doctor ran a few tests, including an MRI, the shocking results were revealed - Ahmad had a type of cancer called Hodgkin lymphoma.
Unlike his family, who were upset and depressed by this news, Ahmad didn’t feel afraid. He saw his illness as just another obstacle in his life that he had to overcome while maintaining a positive attitude. “Fighting cancer can seem overwhelming at first, but once you accept that this is your situation now, and start your treatment, you are already fighting it. Don’t let sadness or feeling like giving up distract you from your ultimate goal, which is to beat cancer.”
Ahmad started chemotherapy treatment, which lasted six months, at the King Hussein Cancer Center. After chemotherapy, he had to undergo radiotherapy treatment. During this time, Ahmad suffered from a lot of side effects. He lost his hair, felt nauseous after every treatment session, and was constantly very thirsty.
In January 2012, Ahmad had his last treatment session. Thankfully, the treatment was successful and his body is now free of cancer. Ahmad now has to go back to KHCC every 3 months for regular check-ups to ensure that the cancer does not return.
Ahmad looks at life a lot differently after his experience with cancer. The small things in life don’t bother him anymore, and he cherishes every moment. He also encourages his family and friends to live a healthier lifestyle, by quitting smoking and taking up exercise, in order to reduce their risk of getting cancer. Above all, he tells them how important it is to always think positively to overcome any obstacles or tough situations in life.
Taking his interest in spreading awareness about cancer further, Ahmad decided to become a volunteer at the King Hussein Cancer Foundation (KHCF). He helps with KHCF’s cancer awareness and early detection programs, and encourages people to join the Foundation’s Cancer Care Program which insures them and their families against cancer. Ahmad also visits patients at the Center, to talk to them and lift their morale. Many patients find that talking to a survivor gives them more motivation to fight their cancer. “Being diagnosed with cancer does not mean the end,” Ahmad says. “It certainly doesn’t mean you should stop dreaming or aspiring for more. I am living proof of this.”
This story was last updated in 2012