The road that eventually lead to this idea started a little more than six years ago, when our then 13-year-old cousin was diagnosed with osteosarcoma. She and her parents flew to the United States, from Egypt, for a six-month period that included surgery, chemotherapy, and recovery. We have donated several times to all the hospitals that helped save her life but have always wanted to donate and do more than we could afford.
We were fortunate enough, or unfortunate, depending on how you look at it, to witness the effects of cancer from a first hand account. We saw the morale of our cousin rapidly decrease from the day of diagnosis to the final days of chemotherapy. It’s a heavy ordeal that no one should ever have to go through, yet alone a child. Through the three months, my brother and I spent almost every minute of every day with her, trying to cheer her up any way we knew how. One day, however, we woke up with symptoms of a cold and were unable to visit her until we were feeling better. That same day, we asked our parents to buy us a small notebook and a pen before they go visit her in the hospital. We began to write, draw pictures, and even parody song lyrics. Our parents would then deliver this notebook to her, where she would respond and write whatever she wanted back. We did this until we were feeling better and was able to visit her again.
What we found out through my parents and later from her, is that receiving that notebook in the morning was the best part of her day. That statement was very profound. The joy that notebook delivered put a smile on her face regardless of the chemotherapy she was receiving. Regardless of the pain and nausea she was constantly under. Regardless of being bed bound in a hospital far away from all her friends back home. That notebook helped her, if only for an instant, forget her present dilemma and, instead, bring her attention to something positive and blissful. The main purpose of this organization is to replicate that notebook experience with all of the children enrolled in our organization.