New York Times Feed

Jordan, September 8, 2019
Well wishes pour in for young cancer patient as social media garners support

AMMAN — The story of Balqees Bani Hani, a 23-year-old Jordanian woman from Irbid who was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, went viral on social media, drawing the attention of Health Minister Saad Jaber.

In March of 2018, Balqees sensed a lump around her tongue, which she checked with a dentist, who referred her to a hospital where she ran tests that initially revealed a benign tumour, her cousin Hadeel Al Khatib told The Jordan Times on Saturday.

“However, the tumour turned out to be Osteogenic Sarcoma, also known as osteosarcoma, a rare type of cancer. What is even rarer is that it usually appears in the knees or elbows — this type of bone — but with her it settled in her jaw,” Al Khatib said.

Balqees began to lose weight when a feeding tube was installed in her neck, but after experiencing inflammation and other issues, they decided to install it in her stomach.

Around that time, Balqees’ friends and family posted her full story in a Facebook group.

The story reached Health Minister Saad Jaber who posted on Friday: “I received various messages from citizens and friends who explained to me the condition of our daughter Balqees, who suffers from a tough medical condition that has required various surgical interventions.”

“I have instructed all parties to form a specialised team to evaluate and treat the patient using the best surgical technologies and as fast as possible,” the minister said in the post.

Al Khatib confirmed that a team from the Health Ministry visited Balqees on Saturday.

The post that went viral was written by Balqees herself and then shared by her friends, beginning: “I would like to tell you my story. I hope you read it to the very end. My name is Balqees, I am 23 years old, I am the valedictorian in my class of electrical engineering at Yarmouk University.”

Since then Balqees’ story has seen hundreds of shares and people have been posting on her Facebook timeline for many months with scores of live videos shared updating her health condition with the hope that she will receive treatment and support.

“Balqees, I am so glad I was able to visit you and see you. I came to check on you but also to be inspired by your resolve. You are very strong. God be with you,” wrote a guest on her timeline.

“You exude love to every heart you meet and every cell of yours gives people love. Your love has reached all those around you who know your story. You have given people hope and joy and faith in God… I am sure you will eventually be well”, another user wrote.