Merna’s Family: A Great lesson in Courage, Siding with 57357 and Hope in a Better Future

1,875 Views No Comments

The first time I met Merna’s father was at the recognition event organized by the Children’s Cancer Hospital Foundation in January in honor of supporters of one of its popular fundraising programs , the “sponsor a sick child program”. It was a most touching and poignant moment when he was invited to share with the audience how he became involved with 57357. Humbly, he introduced himself as Merna’s father, and revealed that he had lost his Merna at the age of 14 last December to a rare type of bone cancer. Merna was initially admitted to the Children’s Cancer Hospital Egypt 57357; but because  treatment there is free of charge and the capacity is limited, Merna’s mother, in solidarity with the most deprived, opted to move Merna to a private hospital in order to allow other poor families with no financial means access to Hospital 57357.

With a smile and tear-filled eyes, he goes on to explain: “While she was still undergoing treatment at the other hospital, her school began organizing fundraising events for Hospital 57357. For months, Merna saved every dollar she received from her allowance and holiday gifts, vowing to donate everything to Hospital 57357 as soon as she felt better. Merna was too sick to join her classmates in their fieldtrips to the hospital. Undeterred, she continued saving in hopes of one day making her donation in person. She once asked her mother “I am planning to donate all the money I saved, but can I please keep 10% to buy something nice to wear for the visit?” Unfortunately, destiny had other plans for Merna, she passed away on December 14th of last year before she could make the visit she was so eagerly planning. Following her death, her mother and I visited Hospital 57357 to donate her savings. During that visit, we pledged in Merna’s memory, to donate the same amount on a monthly basis for the rest of our lives so one day, parents who face a similar situation can tell a different ending to their story.”  .

Merna’s father is Dr. Tarek Madkour, Professor of physical chemistry at the American University in Cairo ( AUC). His wife, Dr Rasha Azzam is a researcher in pharmaceutical chemistry. From 1987 to 1992, Dr. Madkour completed a doctoral program, was awarded a research fellowship and received his PHD degree at the University of Cincinnati, OHIO . In 1997, he was appointed as a senior research scientist at ICI-Europe, research and development center in Belgium. Referring to the promising results achieved by 57357 so far in terms of cure rates, announced by the Hospital VP, Dr. AbouelNaga during the recognition event, as approaching the 80 to 85% achieved in the developed world and the serious involvement of the hospital in research to continuously improve its patients’ outcomes,  Dr. Madkour writes to me the following: ” CCH57 has set for itself very noble and high goals. Every year or so they surprise everyone with their ability to reach these goals … the chance to collaborate with them, serve them and assist them in any way we can in reaching these goals is a chance we can only dream of and are honored to have….I spoke to both the head of the chemistry department and the director of the food chemistry program here at AUC and we are planning our first meeting and MOU signing between 57357 and AUC this coming Sunday to support research collaboration.

 Merna’s grandmother, is currently volunteering her time at the Hospital…….