Gheuwan Arja, a mother of five from Greenacre, a suburb of Sydney, had to make a heartbreaking decision to lie to her 10-year-old son Omar about his recovery when, in reality, he was going home to pass away.
Gheuwan, who has already lost three children to terminal illnesses, could not bear the thought of telling Omar that he only had weeks to live after undergoing six months of grueling chemotherapy and 18 surgeries for Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma.
Omar, who smiled with delight as he rang a bell in the hospital to signify the completion of his cancer treatment, was kept unaware of the truth by his mother’s “white lie”.
Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma is a type of cancer that targets the lymph nodes, which play a crucial role in the body’s immune system.
In a video, Mrs. Arja expressed that lying to her son about his health was one of the worst days of her life. She captioned the video with the question, “How do you tell your child that he is going home to spend his last days with his family?”
Heart-wrenching footage shows Omar sitting in a wheelchair, ringing the bell at the hospital. As medical staff clap off-camera, Mrs. Arja joins in while standing behind her son.
She wipes a tear from her eye while Omar smiles from his wheelchair. Sadly, Omar passed away in January 2022.
Rather than telling her son that he was fighting cancer, or that he had previously battled a brain tumour, Mrs Arja told him that he was fighting an ear infection.
She made this decision based on her previous bitter experience of watching two of her other children suffer and die from terminal illnesses.
Mrs Arja, a devoted Muslim, shared that her first-born daughter, Aisha, was diagnosed with a rare genetic condition called Neiman Pick Type C.
This condition causes cholesterol and other fats to accumulate in the liver, spleen, or lungs, and eventually spread to the brain. Aisha passed away at the age of four in 2009.
In a Launch Good fundraiser, Mrs Arja shared that she was devastated when her first-born daughter Aisha died of a rare genetic condition called Neiman Pick Type C in 2009.
She wrote, “It was devastating and my whole world fell apart. But I knew that Allah had a plan, and I had to accept it.”
In 2019, her third-born son, Mohamed, was diagnosed with a brain tumour after showing symptoms of having a stroke, and he passed away after two weeks.
Mohamed died almost a decade after Aisha. Then, in July 2021, the family received the third devastating news that their fourth-born son, Omar, was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma.
In January of the following year, Omar passed away.
Mrs Arja and her husband, Fadi, who are left with two surviving children – Rabieh, 16, and Luay, eight.
The grieving mother has raised over $16,000 on Launch Good to take her eldest son to Mecca and wants to share a message of hope with other parents.
She urges them to keep going despite the hardships: “You want your children to fight for life – how dare you give up on life. Don’t – that’s how I see it.”
Mrs Arja believes that if her son fought for his life, then she must continue to fight for hers.
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