In November 2018, when Youssef was only one year old, he was diagnosed with a retinoblastoma, a rare form of eye cancer. The resulting tumour had spread throughout his right eye socket.
One month later, Youssef underwent an emergency operation to remove his right eye, followed by six months of chemotherapy.
In addition to the many difficult side effects of his treatment, the operation left Youssef’s eye socket empty. The doctors recommended fitting a prosthetic eye to help boost his self-confidence as he gets older.
Youssef’s parents understood how beneficial the prosthetic would be to their child’s long-term mental health and his life in the future. They immediately began trying to find support to cover the cost of the expensive procedure, eventually reaching out to Al Jalila Foundation for help.
As part of its ‘A’awen’ programme, Al Jalila Foundation worked with the Federal Authority for Government Human Resources to raise the necessary funds to provide the small boy with a high-quality prosthetic eye.
Youssef’s mother openly voiced her concerns that her son would find it difficult to integrate into society because of his condition: “As a mother, I was afraid that he may be bullied by children, and we even avoided going out. Thanks to receiving the prosthetic eye, Youssef’s natural facial features have returned, and today, Youssef is a happy, confident three-year-old who enjoys playing with his friends. We thank everyone who donated and are extremely grateful for all the support we received from Al Jalila Foundation.”