Daffodil Day - Interview with Ireland Fellow, Omar Mousa
ICOS is supporting the Irish Cancer Societies Daffodil Day 2023. Every year on Daffodil Day people all across Ireland take to their communities and join together to shake buckets, sell merchandise and raise funds (and smiles!).
We spoke to Omar, a current Ireland Fellows Programme recipient about his experience with cancer and why events like Daffodil Day are so important.
Can you please tell us a little bit about yourself and your diagnosis?
I'm Omar Mousa, medical doctor hailing from Palestine. After graduating from Palestine Faculty of Medicine, AlQuds University in 2019, I decided to pursue my passion for clinical research by enrolling in the MSc Clinical research program at the prestigious University of Galway.
Do you remember when you were diagnosed and what you felt?
As a young medical student in 2014, when I was diagnosed with a germ cell tumor I never could have predicted that I would soon become intimately acquainted with a disease that was little more than a topic in my pathology textbook.
Do you feel being a cancer survivor has defined you and who you are today?
I refuse to allow a cancer diagnosis to become the defining moment of my life story. Instead, I choose to view it as just another chapter that I have the power to face with strength, resilience, and a clear-headed determination to overcome. This mindset enables me to confront the ups and downs of treatment with purpose and rationality, and to maintain a positive outlook on the future despite the challenges that lie ahead.
How have you found going back into education? Was your course choice affected by your experience? Did surviving cancer encourage you to take risks and take on challenges since you have recovered?
Cancer... it's a word that strikes fear into the hearts of so many. The battle against this disease is an ongoing challenge, and every day new theories and drugs are emerging that need to be tested for safety and effectiveness. As someone who has faced cancer as a patient in a hospital bed, then as a doctor at the bedside, and now as a researcher in the lab, I know firsthand how important it is to have the right knowledge, skills, and experience to fight this battle.
That's why I believe that the MSc Clinical Research program is so critical. It's designed to give healthcare workers like us the tools we need to take on this challenge and make a difference. With this program, we can be part of the fight against cancer in a more meaningful way than ever before.
What do you think about men’s health in general? What are the attitudes towards men’s health in Palestine? How do you think we could encourage more men to get checked regularly?
Despite being a medical student, I was not aware of my symptoms and how serious they could be. Men's health is often overlooked, especially in developing countries like Palestine, where cultural and societal norms discourage men from seeking medical help. To encourage more men to get checked regularly, health education programs should be provided, and healthcare providers should create a safe and supportive environment for men to discuss their health concerns. This requires a collaborative effort from healthcare providers, policymakers, and the community.
What would you say to someone currently undergoing treatment?
To all those battling cancer, it's important to bear in mind that you're not alone in this struggle, and each challenging day you endure will be rewarded by your unwavering perseverance and determination to overcome this affliction. Remarkable strides and achievements are made every day in this combat, and it won't be long before we witness the advent of a cure for most types of cancer, sooner than anticipated.
We are running two fundraising events for Daffodil Day 2023 - we are inviting you to support us in our fundraising efforts for this noble cause! Here is how you can do that:1. We have challenged our staff as well as Ireland Fellows to make at least 150,000 steps this March - you can sponsor our efforts to walk to stand up to cancer by donating to the Irish Cancer Society for Daffodil Day 2023 via our fundraising page: https://daffodildaycollection.cancer.ie/.../daffodil-day...2. Enter our painting raffle by donating to the Irish Cancer Society for Daffodil Day 2023 via our fundraising page: https://daffodildaycollection.cancer.ie/.../daffodil-day...Two lucky donors will win a painting done by Marjorie, our painter-in-residence.