x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

UAE expat family in plea for help to save cancer victim

Relatives of Shaikh Farhan Hussain, 24, hope Ramadan will inspire residents to contribute to his Dh300,000 bone-marrow transplant.

Shaikh Farhan Hussain is having chemotherapy at Dubai Hospital to help stop his leukaemia spreading, but he needs a life-saving transplant his family cannot afford. They hope residents will assist them. Courtesy Hussain family
Shaikh Farhan Hussain is having chemotherapy at Dubai Hospital to help stop his leukaemia spreading, but he needs a life-saving transplant his family cannot afford. They hope residents will assist them. Courtesy Hussain family

DUBAI // Ramadan is a time to help those in need - and the family of a leukaemia patient are hoping the kindness and generosity inspired by the holy month will help save his life.

Shaikh Farhan Hussain, 24, is facing a race against time to get a life-saving bone-marrow transplant.

But his family needs help with the expensive operation.

"Without the treatment, he will die," said Mr Hussain's cousin, Muhammad Yousuf.

Mr Hussain, an Indian expatriate who lives in Sharjah, began suffering from aching limbs and bouts of fever in January.

"He was suffering for quite a long time but we did not know what exactly it was," said Mr Yousuf, 32.

Days before being admitted to Dubai Hospital in April, Mr Hussain noticed his gums were bleeding and a rash had spread across his upper body and limbs.

Doctors then confirmed the worst. He had acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, a type of cancer that affects the blood and bone marrow.

Mr Hussain was deemed a high-risk patient and immediately began chemotherapy, but the treatment was not enough to stem the cancer and he was told he needed a bone-marrow transplant.

There was more bad news for the family. The procedure is not available in the UAE, so Mr Hussain will have to travel to India. The operation will cost about Dh300,000.

But Mr Hussain's mother, Noor Bano, his father Abrar Hussain Shaikh, a bus driver in Sharjah, and his five brothers and sisters have only managed to raise Dh5,000.

They now hope, in the spirit of Ramadan, generous residents will come forward and pledge money towards the cost of the procedure.

Until he receives a life-saving transplant, Mr Hussain will continue to undergo chemotherapy to help stop the disease spreading.

Mr Hussain has had three intensive bouts of chemotherapy already, said Mr Yousuf, who is "very close" to his cousin.

"He is in terrible pain at the moment in Dubai Hospital," he said. "When he is on the chemotherapy, it is a very high dose. He cannot do anything, he is too weak to talk.

"You cannot imagine the pain he is in. When you see it, you shiver. I cannot bear what he is going through."

Despite his grim condition, when a bone-marrow donor is identified and if the family raises the money for the treatment, the long-term prognosis for Mr Hussain is positive.

"There is very good chance for him to survive with proper chemotherapy treatment and a bone-marrow transplant," Mr Yousuf said.

But without the treatment, his cousin will die. "I am appealing to all compassionate people to please help save Farhan," he said. "Your donation of any amount would be a great help to my family."

Before Mr Hussain fell ill, he made financial contributions to his family's household. Now that income has stopped, coupled with crippling medical bills, the family struggles to cope, Mr Yousuf said.

He is now appealing for donations towards his cousin's care.

"It is the blessed and honourable month of Ramadan when the rewards for generosity are multiplied," he said. "Your generosity will play a role in the efforts to save Farhan from this dreadful disease."

Mr Hussain's older sister, Nilofer, 28, said the medical bill was mounting daily.

"We are getting into financial problems and we do not have the money to pay," she said. "It is so difficult to see him in so much pain. Sometimes he cries. It is hard to watch."

The family have set up a bank account with Emirates Islamic Bank to collect donations. To donate, call Mr Yousuf on 050 430 7870.

jbell@thenational.ae