Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 22 August 2019

British girl with rare eye disease gets holiday in Dubai

Khalaf Al Habtoor read about Molly Bent's condition and presented her and her family with a fun-filled visit to the UAE.
Khalaf Al Habtoor, chairman of Al Habtoor Group, with Molly on her Dubai holiday of a lifetime. Courtesy Al Habtoor Group
Khalaf Al Habtoor, chairman of Al Habtoor Group, with Molly on her Dubai holiday of a lifetime. Courtesy Al Habtoor Group

DUBAI // Molly Bent, 7, has had her share of bad luck after having a rare and incurable eye disease that leads to blindness diagnosed last year.

But Khalaf Al Habtoor has helped to turn that around for the little British girl.

The Dubai businessman, chairman of Al Habtoor Group, invited Molly and her family for a week-long stay at one of the company’s five-star hotels after reading a report about her.

In December last year, Molly received a diagnosis of retinitis pigmentosa, a degenerative eye disease, and was registered as visually impaired.

The little girl made a list of things she wanted to do and see before completely losing her sight.

Mr Al Habtoor donated to a charity set up for Molly through his foundation, the Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor Foundation.

“It was a pleasure to host such a lovely family in Dubai,” he said.

“I am happy they got to see some of the highlights of Dubai. Molly is a lovely girl and I pray to God that her condition can be cured.

“I am willing to help fund any research necessary to make this possible.”

Mr Al Habtoor hosted Molly, her parents Eve and Chris, and her sister Charlotte, 5, and brother Samuel, 2, at the Habtoor Grand Beach Resort and Spa.

The family, from Manchester in north-west England, swam with dolphins, visited the Dubai Aquarium – one of the items on Molly’s list – the Underwater Zoo and Kidzania, and went on a desert safari.

“I had so much fun in Dubai and I love it lots,” Molly said.

“My favourite bit of the whole trip was getting to swim with Lily the dolphin because it was amazing. I got to dance with her and stroke her, and she was so soft.

“I also got to go to the top of the tallest tower in the world, which was awesome.

“I could see everything from up there. I could nearly see my house from the top.”

Mr Bent said the family was touched and grateful.

“We have been overwhelmed by the kindness and generosity of Mr Khalaf Al Habtoor in helping our daughter Molly,” he said.

“Knowing that our daughter has a genetic eye condition, Mr Al Habtoor has provided her with wonderful experiences that she never would have been able to have otherwise.”

Mrs Bent started a GoFundMe page for Molly to take the child to places on her list.

“Molly has been able take in sights and enjoy experiences that she could have only dreamed of,” she said.

“She will now have those memories to cherish forever, which as a parent is the greatest gift you can wish for your child.”

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Updated: November 3, 2014 04:00 AM