Breaking the silence and finding hope and healing

Breaking the silence and finding hope and healing

Imagine the burden of keeping a cancer diagnosis a secret, even from those closest to you. It’s a reality for many.

33-year-old Farzana Mohammed, born and raised in Dubai, kept her diagnosis closely guarded…until now.

A devoted wife and mother to a beautiful three-year-old daughter, Hind, Farzana is a home-maker and finds joy in nurturing her family and indulging in her passions – cooking, exploring new cultures, and photography.

After a nine-year struggle with infertility, the joy of motherhood took an unexpected turn when Farzana was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. This news came as a big shock and suddenly, the excitement of welcoming her daughter was overshadowed by fear and uncertainty. The treatments left her feeling weak and helpless, her once vibrant spirit dimmed by the harsh reality of her illness. “I could not recognise the reflection staring back at me in the mirror”.

Farzana felt lost, hopeless, and lonely. Facing her cancer battle alone  seemed insurmountable, until a glimmer of hope appeared in the form of a message on Facebook from a stranger, introducing Farzana to Majlis Al Amal. “That message changed everything!”  Stepping into the centre, Farzana found a supportive community of women who understood her struggles and she discovered strength to face each day with renewed courage.

Majlis Al Amal became more than a support system; it became Farzana’s lifeline, shaping her into a stronger person and giving her hope for the future. “Looking back, I wish I had found this caring community earlier. They are like family to me now”.

Farzana discovered the power of vulnerability and the importance of breaking her silence. No longer burdened by fear and secrecy, today, Farzana stands as a beacon of hope for others, advocating for early detection and emphasizing the invaluable support available to those in need.

“One of my biggest fears was being judged, pitied, or ostracized because of my cancer. This all changed after joining Majlis Al Amal. Now, I share my story as a cancer survivor with confidence, emphasizing that ‘early detection saves lives’. It’s essential to listen to our body’s signals, and to remember that there are amazing people and a community to lean on.”

Every day patients confront the taboo surrounding cancer. In the heart of this struggle lies Majlis Al Amal, a ‘safe space’, a beacon of hope and support. Here, our members find compassion, understanding and reassurance that they are not alone and that no ‘secret’ is too daunting to share.

Farzana discovered the courage to ‘speak her truth’ to help break taboos and create awareness about the realities of cancer.

Reflecting on her experience, Farzana realizes that “every story is unique but we are united by the shared experience of overcoming adversity”.