Omar Dawood: A Cancer Survivor, a Physician
and My Brother
A guest post by Neda Wilson
Dr. Omar Dawood has taken on the challenge of competing to become the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Man of the Year 2010. His personal journey has motivated him to enter this campaign to support research critical to finding a cure for blood cancers—the same type of research that saved his life twenty-two years ago. Read on for a testimony from Omar’s sister, Neda Wilson.
At the age of fifteen, my brother, Omar, was diagnosed with Stage IV Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and heard the single word that would forever change his life: CANCER. At the time, my ten-year-old mind couldn’t quite grasp this new entity that had entered our lives. Yes, I knew the word. I recalled images of children I’d seen on TV, bald from the effects of chemotherapy. I had heard of others who had passed away from the disease. But to affect our family? My brother?
Cancer became our new reality. Omar spent the next two years enduring intense chemotherapy and multiple surgeries, attending high school only on his “good days.” My sister and I were shuffled between various relatives through the worst of it so that my parents could shield us from his pain and focus on his treatment.
Somehow, though, throughout his years of treatment and the residual effects that followed, his focus on his future aspirations never waivered. Thanks to the dedication of the doctors, nurses and staff at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children in Philadelphia and the cutting-edge research of that time, Omar went into remission and managed to graduate at the top of his high school class. He went on to pursue a career as a cancer researcher and doctor, now leading the development of clinical applications for the CyberKnife, a non-invasive alternative to surgery for the treatment of certain cancers. Omar is thankful to be alive today and proudly calls himself a survivor.
For his Man of the Year campaign, Omar decided to marry his two passions—supporting cancer research and his love for cars—into an exciting raffle called “Drive Away Cancer.” He is offering a 2010 Porsche Boxter or $55K as the grand prize. Every $25 donation to The Lymphoma & Leukemia Society’s “Drive Away Cancer” campaign is a chance to win and will bring us one step closer to a cure. Omar’s dream is that, one day, every person diagnosed with cancer will be able to tell his/her own story of how he/she became a survivor, too.
Check out this video of Omar telling his story:
Click here for more information about Omar’s campaign.
Drive Away Cancer: Buy a Ticket, Win a Porsche, Save a Life.