Born in 1989, Diana Abou Hamia was looking to have a normal happy life, just like any other child.But 3 months after she came to life, she was diagnosed with thalassemia, and had to give up on many of her dreams.
With blood transfusions in need every 20 days at the Chronic Care Center, it was a huge task to find donors around the country ready to provide her with the urgent pints this frequently.
"Sometimes the Lebanese Red Cross helped me, and some others people in the town contributed to fulfilling the demands, but I suffered because they had to spread the news via radio stations and mention my name in public, which hurt me a lot. They even mentioned my name on the microphone at mosques."
The struggles and ordeals would last 24 years, during which Diana never lost faith, and kept a beautiful smile on her face. Another chapter was to be written in her life in 2014, with a bone marrow transplantation set to cut short her needs for blood transfusions and liberate her from the disease. That was the first surgery in Lebanon for a thalassemia patient at the age of 24.
"It [The surgery] was on January 16, 2014 with 6 months of isolation. I always had the faith that I will do the transplantation. Not only my life has changed after the surgery but also my parents’, who always supported me, and their willpower made me strong.
When I was around 11, I wanted to travel to the UK to do the surgery but it didn’t work out, until a student unfortunately died while undergoing a surgery. This made his parents donate money to allow my operation to proceed and I was super happy!
I had the surgery 2 years ago, but the final results came in last month, and here I am today donating blood and saving the lives of other people in need!"
"My blood type was O+ before the surgery, and became A+ after it because my brother was the donor and I got his bone marrow and same blood type!"
Today, Diana is an English teacher at the Lebanese International College, and a Lebanese Red Cross volunteer and first aid trainer for 7 years. She is finally able to chase her dreams, and is back to studying English at the Lebanese university of Zahle, after having to stop for a while to receive the treatment.
"Honestly, I kept no shots of the blood transfusions I had, because it was not a moment to remember. But this photo of myself donating blood for the first time today at 26, I will keep it close to my heart, and try from now on to donate every 3 months and help others, the way they helped me!"