Samar is a beautiful young woman in her twenties. Most days, you can find her stepping quickly through the King Hussein Cancer Foundation’s hallways preparing for a pediatric patient’s birthday celebration, searching for the perfect wrapping paper with which to wrap a terminally-ill patient’s final dream come true, or hurrying to complete thank you letters for a list of donors. Her energy and positivity belie the fact that she has already spent a year of her life in cancer treatment, but make it easy to understand how she managed to give hope to those around her, never acknowledging that she herself was experiencing the very same things: difficult treatment, hair loss, dizziness, and above all, her family’s suffering as a result of diagnosis.
Samar first began feeling tired in June 2007. The feeling soon escalated to a continuous exhaustion, but Samar did not pay much attention to it until she coincidentally discovered a lump on her neck which prompted her to consult a doctor. Her doctor assured her that it was simply a matter of inflamed lymph nodes, but the persistent increasing symptoms led her to get a second and third opinion until eventually she was referred to the King Hussein Cancer Center.
Samar was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma which was thankfully discovered in its early stages. Doctors at the Center prepared a treatment plan for her which included 16 weeks of chemotherapy.
Samar’s family rallied around providing her with support to overcome the obstacles and side-effects of treatment. With their encouragement she was able to bravely face her personal battle and attend her chemotherapy sessions. Tuesdays quickly became her favorite day because they allowed her a chance to talk with other patients also undergoing chemotherapy. Samar’s easy smile and willingness to listen encouraged patients to warm up to her and soon she was their confidante, patiently listening to their troubles and injecting a much-needed ray of hope into their hearts and putting smiles upon their faces.
After six months of treatment, Samar underwent her final chemotherapy session on February 16, 2008. She views her experience with Hodgkin’s as a learning one; it was one of the deciding factors in her leaving her job at a local bank and joining the King Hussein Cancer Foundation, knowing that she could continue to help patients wage their battles with confidence.
Now, Samar works as the coordinator for the Foundation’s Dreams Come True Program, a program that aims to make young patients’ dreams come true. She is happy that she is able to continue what she first started doing when she was still a patient at the Center: listening to patients’ cares and needs, and granting hope to the many who are still struggling to overcome this disease.
This story was last updated in 2010