..... and whoso saved the life of one, it shall be as if he had saved the life of all humanity. (Quran 5:32)
American Muslims have been working to build bridges of understanding and fulfilling their neighborly and community obligations as required by their faith.
A recent case about a Christian child and how the Muslim community is trying to help is noteworthy.
In early January the two-year old Ronan Godfrey had the late-night nose bleeding that lasted three hours. The paramedics did not see this as something unusual. But the next day the doctors gave him the preliminary diagnosis of leukemia. He had no blood in him and he needed two blood and one platelet transfusions. Soon the doctors realized it wasn't leukemia. It was a type of aplastic anemia, so rare, that there are just 300 cases diagnosed in the world. Now Ronan desperately needs a bone marrow transplant.
The City of Hope Medical Center has hosted a bone marrow drive in Rancho Cucamonga. The Redlands United Church of Christ, where the Godfrey family are members has also hosted a drive. Now a Muslim group of volunteers led by a young Muslim mother of two is hosting a fund raiser on June 18 at the Inland Empire Islamic Center in Rancho Cucamonga. Gabriella La Porte, came to Islam a decade ago and got married to Suhail Abdullah in 2005. They moved to their new home in Fontana, California last year where they met the Godfreys. They spent time with Ronan who is still cheerful and talks about his ambitions of becoming an astronaut. There was a time when Suhail and Gabriella would spend hours with Ronan. But now, Ronan cannot go close to anyone as his white cells are depleting. He only goes to the hospital.
Ronan's condition motivated Gabriella to do something involving her new community. She led a campaign of prayer and educated the community about Ronan. Now she is spearheading the fundraising drive. The IEIC event is open to all. All the expenses of the fund raising dinner are being met by Suhail and Gabriella's family and friends. The IEIC has donated its social hall for the function.
The group has also invited a raw food expert to talk about the benefits of eating healthy food. "We are exploring every possibility to do whatever we can to give hope to this young child. The presence of a raw food expert would give us one more reason to believe that God can lead us to the right path in terms of finding a cure for Ronan" said Gabriella.
The dedication and commitment that the group has shown is remarkable as the members meet on a weekly basis to discuss the program and brain storm ideas for making it a successful event. Some artists have also donated their time to perform Muslim songs during the program.
In a crazy world where the health insurance companies are thinking nothing but increasing their profits and where drug manufacturers are concerned about selling more and more, the group offers a hope for a better future. A Muslim group working with people of other faiths to save the life of a Christian child is something that offers a vision where people would come together exploring their humanity to help each other and breaking down all the barriers that people and establishments that promote hate have created.
Join the fund raising if you are in Southern California.
Pray for Ronan if you are elsewhere and encourage people to participate in this humanitarian cause.
Dr. Mayada Marzouk, MD, DPP, MACP, Marriage and Family Psychotherapist of TSM Counseling Services is helping the family. Her e mail address is tsm.counselinglive.com
Gabriella La Porte, the main organizer of the event can be reached at gabyarg3gmail.com.
Ronan Godfrey's website is www.hope4ronan.com
Dr. Aslam Abdullah is editor in chief of the weekly Muslim Observer and director of the Islamic Society of Nevada.