The generous donation of chemotherapy medicines from our corporate partner Janssen has given cancer patients in Gaza some much-needed relief.

 

Our in-country partner Anera reports on the story of Isam, a direct beneficiary, who one day woke up with an ache in his bones that didn’t go away. After undergoing many tests, he was told he had osteosarcoma, a bone cancer.

The news sent him into a depression, as this felt like a death sentence, he told Anera. “Chemotherapy drugs are not always available here. Nor are radiation therapy or immunotherapy. I had to educate myself about cancer and the types of treatment. Our struggles are many, financial, moral and physical; above all, the shortages of medicines. You can hardly imagine how painful all of this is for patients.”

When borders are closed, those with serious illness find themselves in a lottery, with odds stacked against them. “I never get permits [to travel for treatment outside Gaza],” explains Isam. “If I’m lucky enough to get one, the treatment protocol will be interrupted later anyway.” Chemotherapy drugs must be taken on a strict schedule, he adds. “You are to take the medicine four times daily, for the first 10 days. But frequently I can’t follow this protocol because my permit is denied. Sometimes you can never return to complete the cycle of treatment.” 

That’s why Janssen’s donation of directed through Anera to Gaza’s Al Shifa Hospital, was so important. It meant patients like Isam could continue their treatment regimes in Gaza, rather than wait for a travel seek treatment elsewhere. 

The medicine slows or stops cancer cells from growing, and is used to treat cancers such as multiple myeloma and mantle cell lymphoma in adults. “[Bortezomib] is an expensive drug,” Isam says. “It is very difficult to find. Finding [treatment medicines] at the hospital is absolutely indispensable.”

Sabbah, the nurse at Shifa Hospital who prepares vials for cancer patients, told Anera: “Our patients are in danger. When we can’t offer treatment, they leave devastated. Today, when they came to the hospital, we were able to tell them that the medicine is available. It was a great relief.”

 

We’re grateful to Janssen and our other healthcare partners for their much-needed donations, which continue to help to make life for cancer patients in Gaza more bearable.

 

Please donate to help us continue to source and send chemotherapy medicines to cancer patients in Gaza, allowing them to continue with their treatment regimes.

Please select a donation amount: *
Set up a regular payment Donate