I spotted him immediately in the art therapy room among a large number of children who were completely absorbed in their art and crafts activities. How could I possibly miss him: He has the most beautiful smile and his eyes are shining with brightness? Moreover, his art creation was particularly attractive: a big colorful butterfly on a sheet of white cloth.
I asked him if I could chat a bit with him. He invited me to sit beside him as he continued to paint his butterfly. At this point, Shaimaa, a member of the group of devoted volunteers who animate the art therapy room, takes me aside to talk with me privately. “Ossama, the boy you are chatting with is the beacon of light of this place; not only is he communicating his positive energy and cheerfulness to all the children he meets but also to us the volunteers. With his eternal golden smile, he brings support to his fellow patients and gives us encouragement when the going gets tough. Ossama moves around the Hospital spotting the children who need special encouragement and guides them to the Art therapy room.”
To my great surprise Ossama is Yemeni. I would have never guessed as he speaks colloquial Egyptian. Ossama is 17 but looks much younger. He is a member of a family of 8 siblings. Two years ago he developed a growth near his right knee, but unfortunately did not address it before coming to 57357 in September of 2014, almost a year and a half ago. As his father is sick with a heart condition and his mother is deceased, it is his elder sister who travelled with him from Yemen to Cairo, bringing along her child to be able to stay longer with her brother as he is being followed up closely.
Ossama lost one leg to cancer. He is amputated from the pelvis down. Ossama had to go twice through the ordeal of amputation. His physician, Dr. Hala Gouda is overwhelmed by his courage and optimism. She explains to me that he underwent a first amputation which left him with half a leg and the ankle joint in place of the knee joint (rotationplasty). Ossama’s spirits remained high. He then was administered chemotherapy but towards the end of the treatment, the cancer hit again. They had to amputate the whole leg. Still, Ossama‘s valiant spirit was not affected and his lovely smile continues to touch and inspire all those he interacts with.
Ossama is now in the follow-up phase which could take up a couple of years or more. He goes to regular physio-therapy sessions to get used to the artificial leg they put him. The day I met him, he shared with me how happy he was to be finally moving around with ease with his new leg. As I was about to leave, I heard myself telling him: Ossama, do you know that God loves you very much and that you are very special to him. Ossama replied: I know and that is why he is testing me. And I to answer him: No Ossama, God could not possibly test you, but he has chosen you to be his special messenger of hope, courage and Joy to all the other children with cancer.
Help Ossama and many more children at the Hospital who require the replacement of artificial limbs to return to their normal lives. Give today to cover the cost of limb replacement and limb salvaging operations at 57357.