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I grew up as a bookworm. It seemed that with a hefty enough book in my hands the answer to any question, the solution to any problem, might be found.
I thoroughly enjoyed my school years. I had brilliant teachers who made their subjects come alive. I worked hard, considering it as worship with the intention to use my qualifications to do some good in the world.
After my diagnosis, my immediate plans of working dissolved. I struggled during my enforced sabbatical, so long defined by what I was doing that my simply being felt inadequate. The questions that now preoccupied me were the larger ones – of why we are here and where we are going, questions on the periphery of most schools. Yet this is precisely what the Maryam Academy seeks to provide – an all-round education that includes the study of Islam and Arabic.
My prognosis was bleak and as I searched for a way out I was confronted by the limits of our knowledge; there was no knowing in advance whether a treatment would work, or which side-effects I might get – there was data, but each individual is different. Sometimes we shoot at cancer cells in partial darkness, praying for light.
Yet I take heart from the fact that these boundaries are constantly being pushed back. Diseases that were once incurable are now manageable. “There is no disease that God has created, except that He has also created its treatment.” These words of the blessed Prophet Muhammad give me hope. Whether or not a treatment for my cancer will be found in my life-time, I am deeply indebted to those who dedicate their lives to such research.
It is my hope that graduates of Maryam Academy will one day join their ranks.