(republished from Teacher’s Desk)
Cancer Vs. Knowledge: How one person’s wisdom defeated cancer
Perhaps one of the most dreaded diseases to ever affect anyone nowadays is cancer. It doesn’t only aim to destroy a person physically, but also emotionally, morally and even sometimes socially. However, what if this dreaded disease is simply misunderstood? What if, instead of fearing it, we were to embrace it and accept the lessons it brings along?
Charif Kaiss was a typical young adult living in Beirut. His life could only be described as full: he had good friends, the girl of his dreams, a good career path, and a lot of fun. By nature, in addition to all that, Charif was the curious sort, always thirsting for knowledge. He has read about and studied many of the greatest philosophers and leaders of the world including Napoleon, Gandhi, Mandela, Nietzsche, etc… Naturally, this would enable him to be wiser and much more knowledgeable than his peers. But, what he didn’t know at the time was that this wisdom would be his strongest weapon against an unexpected enemy. Out of the blue, Leukemia raised its banners and charged.
As is very well known, Leukemia is one of the worst forms of cancer because it affects a person’s blood. For a person in his early twenties, such a war would’ve been nigh on impossible. However, as can be seen in Charif’s bestselling autobiography “I am a Living Legend”, he had his army of knowledge up and ready from the first day. Instead of describing it as a calamity, Charif saw this as an adventure: a new thrilling experience with its own ups and downs. As for his best weapons, he had the swords of wisdom, spears of knowledge and a nuclear smile, which he later adopted as his motto “Crush cancer with a smile”.
Today, Charif is a healthy and vibrant young man with an even fuller life ahead of him. Through his adventure, he discovered that knowledge and education are a crucial weapon against cancer, and they can make all the difference. This is why he has recently come together with a group of cancer and Talassemia survivors and started their Revive Association. Revive’s main goal is to spread cancer awareness by showing this disease in a new light and arm people with the same weapons that the survivors have used, weapons they may or may not need for a battle that may or may not happen, but as Kafka states, “Better to have, and not need, than to need, and not have.”
It is very well known that psychology has a tremendous effect on chemotherapy treatments. However, despite the widespread availability of knowledge, many people still do not make full use of this arsenal. This is like having a machine gun but not knowing how or when to use it. Charif’s adventure is to be an inspiration to millions around the world, for if learning and education can defeat cancer – the bitterest enemy – and completely eradicate it, what could stand in their way?