Bahija, Morocco

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What a beautiful feeling of expecting a baby, feeling of a human being, a life is taking shape within oneself. It is so beautiful, magical and this is one of the divine virtues of women. But good things never come alone as they say. When I expected to accomplish the miracle, leukemia came and coexisted under the same roof and deprived me from enjoying a full and perfect happiness in my family.

Diagnosed near the end of my pregnancy, I was afraid of losing my baby, my life, my family, I was afraid of losing everything, miss everything. I reproached, I feel guilty, I hesitated repeatedly, I would give up and stop hoping. I could never overcome leukemia, I could never beat cancer.. I thought that the fight is futile; useless ... the fight is for others who have the courage and faith. As for me, I am nothing but a weak and fragile; a new mom, with a newborn baby on the arms, two children and a husband waiting for my return home, a career, projects, dreams, birthdays , weddings ... In short a lifetime. All that will evaporate and I can do nothing... Is this a punishment? Why me? Should we fight? Is it worth it? Why fight? Is it for me or for the others? Those who depend on me.. I had no information, neither psychological support or treatment access in my country.

At that time, I understood that destiny has choosen me be the change, work on things and make a positive diffrence. So I took the first step and have started to learn, build my advocacy and communication skills, and have participated in international conferences in order to defend all Leukemia patients. Fifteen years later, and I m still alive fighting every day against cancer, stigma and injustice; I defend one of the most basic human rights: the right to live!

So I am Bahija GOUIMI living with leukemia since 2002, I moved from the state of being a patient to that of an association president. I went through the tunnel of the disease and I was convinced that my journey and experience will certainly serve other people. Cancer showed me to live for others; more than myself. And this is the reason why AMAL exist.

AMAL (Association des Malades Atteints de Leucémies) was created on April 16, 2011 by thirty ambitious patients and parents as to fill the lack of information, orientation and work on a better management of leukemia in Morocco to start by educating patients and parents about the access to proper treatment and monitoring, communicating more around leukemia to raise awareness and mobilize all stakeholders to make cancer a public health priority in the kingdom. In a short time, we succeeded in winning the trust of several partners and are currently active at the Mohamed 6 hospital in Marrakech to accompany patients and parents (take charge of blood tests and transport fees for better follow-up, organization of more 15 events and activities per year all focused on orientation, awareness, psychological support and education of children and parents) in order to make our world a better place.

An individual battle transformed to a plural movement for the noble cause of supporting patients and families facing cancer. Bahija GOUIMI Author of three books Founder and president of AMAL Association - Morocco