UAE: 11-year-old cancer survivor now dreams of helping others

Abu Dhabi - With the help of her doctors, she was able to beat lymphoblastic leukaemia.

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Ashwani Kumar

Published: Fri 28 May 2021, 2:48 PM

Last updated: Fri 28 May 2021, 2:54 PM

At 11, Mayar has already won a war — a big battle against the big C. Now, the Abu Dhabi girl hopes to give back and help others like her by becoming a doctor someday.

She had undergone years of treatment and encountered several health complications along the way, but at the end of it all, she was left inspired by the world-class care that her doctors in Al Ain had given her.

Also read: UAE programme to make cancer treatment affordable

In April 2017, Mayar visited Tawam Hospital, part of Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (Seha), and was diagnosed with B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, a type of cancer of the blood and bone marrow.

Her chemotherapy lasted nearly two years. She was then diagnosed with relapse acute lymphoblastic leukaemia. and even after treatment, her bone marrow evaluation showed persistence of more than 15 per cent abnormal cells.

As a preparation for a bone marrow transplant, she was put on a 28-day course of Blinatumomab, an injection used to treat her condition with minimal residual disease. The treatment worked and eliminated the remaining cancer cells. Soon enough, she was well enough to travel to Jordan for a bone marrow transplant from a relative.

Mayar’s father couldn’t help but feel proud of her daughter. “A cancer diagnosis is always feared, especially in children. As parents, we were in great shock, it shook our world, but the treatment opportunities and recovery rate gave us hope. More than 85 per cent of children with acute lymphoblastic get cured with current treatment modalities — this helped us stay positive throughout the process,” he said.

He pointed out that Mayar plans to pursue a medical career and help people like her beat the disease. “Undergoing treatment is a challenging phase as your child faces difficulties. My daughter fought and has won, she now dreams to become a doctor to help others like her.”

Dr Anwar Salam, group chief medical officer of Seha, underlined that the oncology centre at Tawam Hospital is led by a multidisciplinary team of doctors and specialists, and uses the latest technologies to diagnose and provide treatment.

“The success story of treating an 11-year-old with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia serves as testament to the quality of expertise and services available within the network that serves the wider UAE community.”

Dr Mohammed Faisal Khanani, head of paediatric oncology and haematology at Tawam Hospital, praised the commitment of the entire team in treating Mayar. “The highly qualified team of medical professionals and availability of advanced technology as part of the department of pediatric oncology and haematology ensured Mayar received best-in-class care.”

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