UAE Helping Hands: Woman fights cancer amid fears for her family in Syria

Each week, The National reports a case of a family in desperate straits and the work of Dar Al Ber Society in trying to aid them. Today, Dalal Alali needs your help.

Dalal Alali, 53, looks through her costly medical records. At the hospital where the Syrian expatriate is being treated for bone and breast cancer, doctors say the cost of her chemotherapy will run into tens of thousands of dirhams. Reem Mohammed / The National
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Each week, The National reports a case of a family in desperate straits and the work of Dar Al Ber Society in trying to aid them. Today, Dalal Alali needs your help, writes Shireena Al Nowais

ABU DHABI // Dalal Alali sobs on the phone while talking to her elder sister in Syria.

Her sister’s daughter and son-in-law were killed, along with their three children, in an air raid two months ago.

“The situation is not good,” says Dalal, 53. “I can’t say that things are fine. They are not safe.”

Dalal’s husband was killed in an air raid four years ago. The attack left her homeless. They had no children.

Her younger brother Adel Alali, who had settled in the UAE, sent for her immediately.

“I couldn’t leave her in Syria,” Adel says. “Her husband was killed and she had no home.”

While Adel is concerned that the crisis in Syria will be the cause of the family’s demise, there is a more imminent danger to his elder sister’s life.

Last year, Dalal was diagnosed with breast and bone cancer.

Adel, who has six children, has been paying for her treatment. “I can’t any more,” he says.

“I’ve borrowed all the money I can. She’s my sister and my responsibility but I can’t afford it with the kids going to school and my wife and her family and the money I send to my other siblings and the visa costs.”

Dalal requires monthly injections and chemotherapy sessions that cost about Dh5,000. Her X-rays and blood tests, which have to be carried out every three months, cost about Dh12,000.

“My sister is always active, that’s how we all know her. But now it breaks our hearts to see she’s not the same any more,” Adel says.

“She’s always in pain and even though she tries to hide it, we can see that she’s in pain.”

The Dubai hospital where Dalal is being treated estimates that she needs about Dh50,000 for her chemotherapy.

This does not include the cost of an operation.

“Please help me save my sister,” Adel says between tears. “I can’t lose her, too. I got her out of one danger and now there is another I can’t do anything about.”

Hisham Al Zahrani, manager of social services at Dar Al Ber Society, says that since 2011 the society has donated Dh16.5 million to Syrians in the UAE and assisted about 400 families. The society donated Dh18m to Syrian refugees in Lebanon.

“If there was ever a time our Syrian brothers and sisters need our help then this is it,” Mr Al Zahrani says.

“Most families have lost at least one or two members during this crises. The stress and agony they are going through is unfathomable.

“This family has already lost so much yet they remain hopeful and confident that the UAE, Dar Al Ber and the community will help them to get through their troubles.

“We don’t want to let them down and hope we all do our utmost to help save Dalal.”