Story of a Saudi breast cancer survivor

JEDDAH: A woman’s power lies in her hope, love, faith, and gratitude for life. Women are always stronger than their tears and skin. But when it comes to facing cancer, a woman can choose to be a real fighter or a weak soldier in life.

Rubaiyat participated in Breast Cancer Awareness Month by hosting “Pink Week” in Jeddah from October 3-7.

Pink Week is five days of pink-themed activities that included motivational speakers. In collaboration with Zahra Association, Rubaiyat department store offered a quiz on breast cancer.

On October 5, the third day of the organized activities Rubaiyat hosted a Saudi breast cancer fighter and survivor Reham Afandi, who gave a motivational speech and told her story to the audience. She brightened the stage with her nonstop smiling face.

Reham Afandi is a 33-year-old mother of two children, and a Zumba coach, based in Jeddah, who was one day a normal healthy mom, and then: “I was sleeping and all of a sudden I felt a solid ball in my breast. It was unusual, I started to worry after I asked my husband to check if he thought it felt odd as well,” Afandi said.

Afandi went to the doctor, and “after I had the test, I had to wait for the result— one week of nightmares. The day I learned that I was a breast cancer victim was a shock. I am still so young, I didn’t want to die— my kids! I can’t leave them like this and go. What about my work and husband?”

Afandi was strong, so she dealt with the disease as a challenge where she decided she could either be a loser or a winner.

Hope and patience

“When I started to receive my chemotherapy, I started to feel the pain running in my veins; I was so worried about losing my hair,” Afandi said.

Dealing with such a serious issue intelligently and bravely is one way to get over it, and this is what Reham did.

“I used to have very long and healthy hair; I went to the salon to choose a nice short style that I could wear during my normal days, but I was not courageous enough to cut my hair.”

Reham cleverly convinced her kids that she had a kind of virus called breast cancer that would make her look “ugly for a while.”

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