LaunchGood
Organized by Nicholas Pierce

Support our brother and his wife and children through severe cancer treatment

$41,823

raised of $50,000 USD goal

882 supporters, 59 days left
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Impact: Baton Rouge, LA

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This campaign will collect all funds raised by June 15, 2024 at 8:00 PM EDT

Shareef is my closest friend. 16 years ago, he witnessed my Shahadah. Now, he has an advanced form of cancer. His family needs support--help us help them.


 

When I was 15 years old, my parents died. I was distraught and angry--but mostly, I felt alone. I felt like God, if there was a God, had taken my family and left me behind. I began searching the religions for answers. 

 

When I was 17, I met Shareef Abuhajah. We worked the dish room together at a little restaurant in Baton Rouge. He was kind and insightful and he took his religion seriously. I admired that, and I was drawn to it. We spent many shifts working late into the night, washing dishes and talking about God. Shareef gave me an English-translation of the Quran, and introduced me to the person of the Prophet Muhammad (saw). In my pain and loneliness I opened the Quran, and I read:

 

Your Lord ˹O Prophet˺ has not abandoned you, nor has He become hateful ˹of you˺.

 

And the next life is certainly far better for you than this one.

 

And ˹surely˺ your Lord will give so much to you that you will be pleased.

 

Did He not find you as an orphan then sheltered you?

 

Did He not find you unguided then guided you?

 

And did He not find you needy then satisfied your needs?

 

So do not oppress the orphan,

 

nor repulse the beggar.

 

And proclaim the blessings of your Lord!

 

[93:3-11]

 

I became a Muslim, and Shareef witnessed my shahadah.

 

From that day forward Shareef, and the ummah, became my family. I was no longer lonely, poor, and unguided--and so I sought to proclaim the blessing of my Lord.

Left to Right: Shareef, Brother Mike, myself. We lost Brother Mike to cancer in 2018.

 

Through the years Shareef inspired and challenged me, and I have done my best to dedicate my life to the service of Allah and His worshippers. 

 

I am not alone. Many others like me came to know Islam through our brother's beautiful example.

 

Eventually I became a lawyer, focused on assisting Muslim refugees--but it was during my second year of law school that we first noticed a tumor growing on Shareef's wrist. 

 

He had come to visit me in New Orleans, and we were out walking and talking when he pointed to the small lump near his hand. Shareef had developed a rare form of cancer--synovial sarcoma.

Shareef in 2015.

Then, he was able to beat the cancer back successfully. But there was a cost--he was told when the cancer went into remission that he would never regain the full use of his hand--and that he would never have children. The doctor's were certain that the chemotherapy had rendered him infertile. 

 

Nevertheless, Shareef continued to live his life--he and his new wife, Evelyne, continued to try to have children. Against all the odds, they were succesful. Shareef's cancer remained dormant, and Evelyne had a son, Elias, in 2018. Over the next few years they would conceive again, and again--each time defying the doctor's words, each time celebrating with gratitude Allah's qadr, recognizing that Allah's will is more powerful than any human prognosis. 

 

Shareef's children.

Now, the cancer has returned and spread deeply into our brother's lungs. The metastatic recurrent synovial sarcoma with which our brother has been diagnosed is not a traditional lung cancer. It is the same rare cancer that had previously grown on Shareef's arm, but has now spread aggressively into his lungs--specifically the pleura of the lung,  an area of the lung which the surgeons tell us cannot be operated on. Again, the doctor's words are bleak. We pray for the power of Allah to comfort, guide, defend, and sustain our brother Shareef and his family--but we must embody the will of Allah, too, and act in a way that makes these things real in our world.

 

The next year will be extraordinarily difficult for our brother and his family. Shareef will have to undergo some of the most potent chemotherapy and radiation treatment known to medicine. It will render him terribly sick and unable to work. Without an income, Shareef's family will suffer and be at great risk--that is why we have come, again, to the Muslim ummah, seeking your aid in this time of need.

 

Please give as generously as you are able. 

 

These funds are to assist Shareef and his family during these difficult treatments, but they will also be saved and used to support Shareef's family should Allah take him from us and them.

 

Jazakalkhair,

 

 

Shareef, 2023.


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