After discovering that his beloved teenage son Humaid was suffering from Osteosarcoma, M.S.H. Mohamed’s life changed forever. Little did he know that a mere shoulder pain his son was complaining of would have such detrimental effects on their lives. Humaid was suffering from an aggressive form of a cancerous tumour in the bones, they learned. And thus began a father’s dauntless journey to battle this monstrous illness.
Mohamed stopped at nothing to seek treatment for Humaid.
He was to soon realise the gravity of the illness named cancer. Mohamed was one among hundreds who felt helpless. Cancer was not only life threatening, but also costly to treat. Like hundreds before them, this father and son were soon compelled to seek treatment at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in Maharagama, also known as Apeksha Hospital.
It was Humaid’s wish to help patients like him. It was Mohamed’s wish to see his son’s benevolent desire fulfilled. They chose to invest their time and effort on securing an urgent, but expensive requirement for the hospital, a Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scanner.
In terms of Cancer, timely and accurate identification of the disease is a determinant of the patient’s lifespan as well as the quality of life. Oncologists worldwide therefore rely on the sound accuracy of a PET scan to map out treatment. In Sri Lanka, those who were able to afford a PET scan from private hospitals generally had to fork out a whopping Rs. 150,000 per scan. Patients who were unable to afford this amount are therefore forced to rely on Computed Tomography (CT) scans or Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI).
The hospital’s need was communicated and funds were raised by the absolute will and determination of Mohamed and the Fight Cancer Team (FCT) he successfully formed. Numerous donors, from all walks of life responded immediately. Within a matter of months, a sum of an estimated 230 million rupees was raised by the fund.
The battle was far from won however. As Humaid’s health deteriorated, the purchase of the scanner was delayed by red tape. Humaid, after a battle too arduous for his young age, passed away on September 12, 2017 with the faith that his father and the FCT would one day make his dream come true. Today, the long wait is finally over. The PET scanner reached Sri Lanka in January while preparations were carried out to install the machine at the NCI.
Personnel from the tri-forces and Police, celebrities, cricketers and philanthropists are expected to come together on April 1 in solidarity with the efforts of FCT. Chairman of the FCT walk committee Dr. Zurfick said the objective of the walk was to honour and help those battling cancer. “The Director of Apeksha Hospital, Dr. M.Y. K. Wilfred and Health Services Director General Dr. Anil Jasinghe have been pillars of strength in carrying out our fundraising activities. There were many who helped us in numerous ways and we expect to see their efforts translated to numbers on Sunday (April 1),” he said adding that over 3,000 participants were expected to join the FCT walk.
FCT leader Mohamed said the walk would take place to honour the contributions of noble Sri Lankans who made the purchase of the PET scanner possible. “Our efforts are to battle the disease that would be the number one cause of death in Sri Lanka by 2022. We hope to raise awareness on cancer as it is our responsibility to educate the nation. FCT wishes to make the NCI in Maharagama the best hospital to receive treatment for cancer in South Asia by 2020 and we hope all Sri Lankans regardless of ethnic and religious differences will join us in our noble cause,” he said.
Our efforts are to battle the disease that would be the number one cause of death in Sri Lanka by 2022. We hope to raise awareness on cancer as it is our responsibility to educate the nation
Fight cancer team (www.fightcancer.lk)
It was Humaid’s wish to help patients like him. It was Mohamed’s wish to see his son’s benevolent desire fulfilled.
The PET scanner inauguration ceremony and walk will take place on April 1.
The walk will commence at 7.00 am from 569, Galle Road, Wellawatte (Opposite Roxy Cinema) and will proceed along Hospital road towards Apeksha Hospital, Maharagama.
The PET scanner will then be handed over to hospital authorities at 10. 00 a.m.