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  • Writer's pictureTerri Tomoff

Expanding Hope: Cancer Treatment Access for Kids in Ethiopia Reaches New Horizons!

In 2018, I had the opportunity to travel to Ethiopia with my son Ryan's doctor, Aziza Shad, and The Aslan's Project Executive Director, Julie Broas. I wanted to witness the incredible work Aslan is doing to help kids in Ethiopia fight their cancers and also bring hope and quilts for the now-named TAPCOO house (where the kids live with one parent as they undergo treatment in Addis Ababa (the Capital city). Aslan was a smaller operation then (started in 2013), but now it has expanded to five comprehensive pediatric hematology oncology units at its major national hospitals. All the other 53 nations on the continent are watching Dr. Shad and Aslan spread their magic to help kids fight the good fight of childhood cancers.

My family and I could not be more proud of all the effort going into this project - including the Ministry of Health in Ethiopia, donors in the USA and abroad, and the young doctors and nurses who will lead this initiative in the coming years, perhaps lead Africa's 54 nations to new horizons in treating our youngest and most vulnerable population on this big Earth. If the services can be started, implemented and save many children in a devoloping nation, then there is great hope it can be replicated in other countries, too.

This past summer (2023), Sara Ibrahim of TAPCCO, working in partnership with Dr. Shad/Aslan, was visiting the US on business, staying with Dr. Shad. I had the delight of taking Sara to lunch and catching up with her and all the happenings going on at the TAPCCO House. In August of 2018, we became fast friends and are kindred spirits even though we live 7,200 miles apart. Life is funny and wonderful like that. I was thankful that the center is doing well, along with the kids and parents they serve. Plus, I was thrilled that the social workers and other support people were still on staff! That's always a good sign.

With all the wars and craziness going on in the world each day, Dr. Shad, Julie, and Aslan are Manufacturing Sunshine for close to 6000 kids across "The Land of 13 Sunshines." Believe it or not, it's one of Ethiopia's nicknames as well as the horn of Africa. They are humble and kind as they help young Ethiopians survive and thrive during scary and challenging times.



Photos 1,2,3 from 2023 and Sara's cameral roll (notice new paint and new brick front driveway); Photos 4,5 from 2018, and 6 - Sara and me from last summer in Potomac, Maryland.

Quilt Reveal in 2018 - I'm in white sweater; Dr. Shad to my left and Sara in green shirt with black sweater

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