It came to our attention through Dr. Hesham El Seify, President of the Board of ECN U.S., that a prominent Egyptian American Physician by the name of Sonia Yacoubian who has been living for 40 years in Southern California, had approached him to bequeath her inheritance as a trust to Hospital 57357’s children with cancer.

The news came a few days before Christmas, the perfect gift to mark the magic and wonder of this blessed month. I was curious to get in touch with this generous soul who-according to Dr. El Seify-had tears in her eyes as she explained: “ana misriyya (I am Egyptian) and I want to help Egypt. This is the least I can do for an institution like 57357”

It was around 7.30 am Cairo time, 9.30 pm California time when I called Dr. Yacoubian. Below are excerpts of my conversation with her:

I hope I am not calling too late for you?

Not at all I am watching my favorite Soap opera “Sultan Al Gharam” on satellite TV . You know I am a fan of Egyptian soap operas. I practically do not watch American TV at all.

Here in Egypt, we are very touched by your generous action of leaving all your inheritance to the Hospital.

At this point Dr. Yacoubian interrupts me: You know this is the least I can do for those children that I see in your ads and for my country Egypt.

So this is how you came to know about the Hospital, from the ads. Do you know that the majority are produced in-house by our own media team that works for the 57357 Foundation?

I think you are doing marvelous work for the children with cancer. I know how dreadful this disease is. I lost my sister to cancer six years ago, she was 65 years old. But the good news with children with cancer is that the majority can be cured if given the opportunity of receiving the best quality care and that is what you are successfully doing.

I asked Dr. Yacoubian about her up- bringing. She shares with me that she was born and raised in Egypt and graduated from Cairo University in 1981. She emigrated to the U.S. where she completed her medical education and specialized in Internal medicine. She has her private practice in a town 20 minutes away from Hollywood. She has been practicing for 21 years now and is completely devoted to her patients.  While her mother passed away in the U.S., her Father is still buried in Egypt.

There are a lot of Armenians still living in Egypt, both Catholic and Orthodox…

I am Orthodox Armenian, but you know religion has nothing to do with it……..Religion, race, and social background are things you are born with but they have nothing to do with my decision.  I am Egyptian at heart and I am doing this for my country Egypt, and I love your President, May God give him Protection and Wisdom.

Do you ever come to visit?

No, But I want to come and I will Inshallah.

Dr. Yacoubian, whenever you plan to visit, please inform me, I would be honored and privileged to be your private guide on a tour of the Hospital premises.

I ended the conversation with feelings of hope, wonder, and serenity. Egypt is certainly blessed and as its sons and daughters carry it in their hearts wherever they are.