When Vineet Kumar in 2018 was told he had leukaemia, his family feared the worst when they found themselves without the proper insurance or financial means to pay for his treatment.
Indian resident Anil Kumar, 36, who works in a textile shop, said when his son Vineet, now aged 9, received a diagnosis of acute blood cancer (leukaemia), their medical insurance could not cover the cost of treatment.
“We were devastated when we first heard the news about my son,” Mr Kumar told The National.
"Although there was hope that the disease was treatable and many people had survived the dreaded condition with proper and timely treatment, we needed sufficient funds to let Vineet undergo the full treatment procedure."
Vineet was admitted to hospital for tests and scans after suffering high temperatures and severe physical exhaustion.
After the diagnosis he began the intensive treatment plan, which was initially paid for by his health insurance. However, the insurance was insufficient to cover the full cost of the treatment.
“I didn’t know what to do. My wife was not working and I kept thinking about how to cover the treatment costs and my daily expenses. But thanks to Al Jalila Foundation, my son survived,” Mr Kumar said.
After knocking on many doors for help, someone told him about Al Jalila Foundation in Dubai.
“I applied for treatment support at Al Jalila Foundation and the request was approved for the full payment, sent directly to the hospital," Mr Kumar said.
"It was the happiest moment of my life because my child could complete his treatment without any delay.”
Three years later, Vineet completed the intensive treatment plan and entered the treatment maintenance phase to avoid any relapse.
“My son survived cancer and his health condition is stable now, with close follow-up from doctors in case he is exposed to any health symptoms,” he said.
Vineet continued to attend school classes with his peers while undergoing treatment for the disease.
“He is in fourth grade and will start the new academic year for the fifth grade in school,” he said.
"Watching him playing with his brother and going to school means a lot to me.
"Al Jalila Foundation’s support saved him and I’ll be thankful to them for the rest of my life."
Giving the opportunity
Leukaemia is the most common cancer in children up to the age of 14, followed by brain cancers, lymphomas, neuroblastoma, kidney tumours and malignant bone tumours.
The World Health Organisation recorded 939 cases in the UAE between 2015 and 2020.
Al Jalila Foundation's treatment support programme ― called A’awen (Arabic for support) ― alleviates some of the financial burden facing patients suffering from life-threatening illnesses who are unable to afford health care.
“With the increasing number of cancer cases reported every year in the UAE, Al Jalila Foundation is dedicated to providing financial medical assistance to patients in need,” said Dr Abdukareem Al Olama, chief executive of Al Jalila Foundation
"We believe that every child deserves the opportunity to grow up strong and healthy.
“It is rewarding to follow the progress of a young child like Vineet, who is now living a happy, care-free life.”