Children’s Cancer Center of Lebanon holds 10th fundraising dinner in Kuwait

The Children’s Cancer Center of Lebanon (CCCL) held its tenth fundraising gala dinner in Kuwait at the St Regis Hotel, under the patronage of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kuwait, Sheikh Salem Abdullah Al-Jaber Al-Sabah.

The ceremony was attended by former Minister Walid Jumblatt, MP Paula Yacoubian, previous Kuwaiti Ambassador in Lebanon Abdel Aal Al-Qenaei, Chargé d’affaires at the Lebanese Embassy Ahmed Arafa, the Consul of Lebanon in Kuwait Basil Oweidat, the British Ambassador Belinda Lewis and the French one Claire Le Flecher, Chargé d’affaires of the US Embassy to the State of Kuwait James Holtsnide, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Kuwaiti Red Crescent Society and former Minister of Health Dr. Hilal Al-Sayer, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Children’s Cancer Center, Joseph Asseily, and members of the Board of Trustees Faisal Al-Mutawa, Nora Joumblatt, Mona Sidawi, Paul Edde, Zaid Midani, the General Manager of CCCL, Hana Chaar Choueib, and around 450 Kuwaiti and Lebanese attendees.

Minister Sheikh Salem Abdullah Al-Jaber Al-Sabah stated that “this ceremony comes in light of the exceptional circumstances that the Lebanese Republic is going through, as Lebanon is suffering from an economic crisis that affected all aspects of the life of the Lebanese people and its residents, and affected all sectors and institutions in the country, especially the health private sector.” And he stressed that this “necessitates concerted efforts and work to alleviate the impact of this crisis on children affected by this malignant disease.”

CCCL Chairman Joseph Asseily with Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Salem Abdullah Al-Jaber Al-Sabah.

He believed that “the humanitarian role played by the Children’s Cancer Center of Lebanon is an important and vital one, as it has been able, since its establishment in 2002, to treat more than 5,000 children, and to provide counseling to more than 6,000 other children, which constitutes almost half of the number of children with cancer in Lebanon”. He pointed out that “the humanitarian role of the center was not limited to the Lebanese children only, but also included refugee children in Lebanon, which reflects the great humanitarian role of this center.”

He stressed that “it is a matter of pride that the State of Kuwait has assisted the Children’s Cancer Center of Lebanon with grants amounting to six million dollars through the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development.” He concluded by thanking “all the donors, contributors, and institutions that support the Children’s Cancer Center of Lebanon” and confirming “the continued support of the State of Kuwait to enable this center to continue its noble humanitarian mission.” As for the CCCL board member, Faisal Al-Mutawa, he thanked Sheikh Salem Abdullah Al-Jaber Al-Sabah for his patronage and support for this charity ceremony, which “was not possible to hold without him,” considering that “his official, moral and material support has a great impact.”

He also praised the efforts of Deputy Foreign Minister Abdul Mohsen Al-Zaid, “who worked with us tirelessly and supported us in completing all procedures and official licenses.” Al-Mutawa stated: “In recent years, we used to hold such charitable events, to contribute in a simple and modest way, to support this noble humanitarian work. It is true that we stopped for some time, for known reasons such as the COVID epidemic which was beyond our control, but here we are resuming our efforts to hold this ceremony.”

CCCL Chairman Joseph Asseily with Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Salem Abdullah Al-Jaber Al-Sabah.

He added, “I stand before you as someone who is trying to do good, even if it is modest, to have a positive impact in treating poor children with cancer who are unable to secure their treatment.” He requested everyone “to do whatever they can to make such a positive difference in the lives of these children, regardless of the amount of contribution they can make, whether it is by donating some money or volunteering for some time, or even simply spreading the word in support of this work.” Asseily thanked Sheikh Salem Al-Abdullah for holding the ceremony under his patronage, praising the “tireless work and great sacrifices made” by Faisal Ali Al-Mutawa, the CCCL board member, noting that he “sees humanity through the prism of sacrifice and giving, and this is representative of the people of Kuwait, government, and people.”

He said, “when tragedy befell on August 4, 2020, with the semi-nuclear explosion that destroyed the port and half of the capital Beirut, and displaced tens of thousands, not to mention the victims and those afflicted with a permanent disability, the Kuwaiti Red Crescent Society and people rushed to extend a helping hand to Lebanon and its institutions, as they always do in every devastating disaster, be it natural or not.” In this context, he praised the Kuwaiti Red Crescent’s initiative to provide material support to treat the severe damage to the Children’s Cancer Center, as the rehabilitation was completed quickly and practically.

He saluted the President of the Red Crescent, Dr. Hilal Al-Sayer, “and everyone who took the initiative to extend a helping hand to the Children’s Cancer Center of Lebanon, affiliated with St Jude Hospital and in cooperation with the American University of Beirut Medical Center, as his sole message is to serve the child who is in dire need of support from those who give and help.” He explained that “the cost of treating a child exceeds 55,000 dollars a year,” recalling that the center treats “between 350 and 500 cases annually with a budget that exceeds 15M dollars,” adding that CCCL has treated “since 2002 more than five thousand children at a cost of more than 200M dollars.”

It was secured thanks to the chivalry of philanthropists from the Arab region, the State of Kuwait in particular, and Lebanon without a doubt.” And he stressed that “the revenues of donations decreased significantly at a time when the cost of treatment increased with the inability to find medicines” in light of “the economic situation in Lebanon, which has caused the national currency to lose its purchasing value, and with the worsening conditions in all parts of the world.” He concluded, stating that “yes, we came to tell you that we urgently need your sympathy, and with your support, we will be able to continue providing free treatment to children with this disease without any discrimination, in line with Danny Thomas’ saying: No child should die in the dawn of life.”

The ceremony included a live testimony by survivor Yara Abi Al-Mona about her experience with the Children’s Cancer Center, where she reported how, at the age of 16, tests and doctors’ diagnoses showed that she had a tumor. She said, “there are many achievements and victories that we make in our lives, we rejoice and celebrate them, but there is no victory equivalent to the joy of defeating cancer.” She added: “today, we are here not as victors over the disease, but our goal is to be ambassadors of the Children’s Cancer Center’s mission.”

The event was sponsored by our platinum sponsors: Ali Abdulwahab Al Mutawa Commercial, Cura Health Co, Advanced Technology Company, Al Sayer Group, M2R – Media, our gold sponsors: MARKAZ, NBK, Zain Group, and by our Bronze Sponsors: Bella Clinic and HEISKO. The ceremony included a public auction, which was performed by Auctioneer Mohammad Al-Kiti.

The auction included carved steel handmade to resemble a dervish offered by the Lebanese artist May Rishani, a painting titled “Bright” by the artist Hindi Shivani Dagger, an Islamic woven from silk in the year 1887, a handmade silky rug from 1960-1970, a ring Chevalier designed by Randa Khalil Raad, luggage product partnership between Globe Trotter and Casablanca, and a box made from pearls from Jerusalem Old. The ceremony was presented by Nabila Awad, and the audience enjoyed a sophisticated artistic show by the one and only Carole Samaha preceded by a soft musical intervention by the talented Ghinwa Nemnom.

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