Canning Town teenager who beat rare cancer wins resilience award

PUBLISHED: 13:00 28 August 2017

Ibrahim Omer (Picture: Will Moore)

Ibrahim Omer (Picture: Will Moore)

Will Moore

A teenager who was put into an induced coma while battling a rare cancer has won an award for his resilience.

Ibrahim Omer, 19, was just two months into his apprenticeship as a finance assistant when he had to stop work due to the severity of his illness.

He was left fearing for his life after being diagnosed with nasopharyngeal, a type of head and neck cancer, in July last year and told by doctors they needed to put him in an induced coma and begin chemotherapy immediately.

“A week after being diagnosed with cancer, I was pouring out blood through my nose,” Ibrahim, who lives in Canning Town with his mum and seven siblings, said.

“The doctors were trying everything to stop the bleeding but the only solution was to put me in an induced coma.

“The scariest part was not knowing when I was going to wake up, if at all.”

Ibrahim first noticed his symptoms two years ago but was misdiagnosed.

“It was a very frustrating time and hard to think about what was wrong with me. I was looking all over the web, trying to diagnose myself. The symptoms were just getting worse and worse,” he said.

“I was later referred to a doctor at The Royal London Hospital, and then two months later that’s when my diagnosis was confirmed - it was one of the worst days of my life.”

In September last year he was told he had to travel to America for a procedure that would kill the tumour in his head, and he travelled to Florida with his mum and sister for three months of gruelling treatment.

And despite his life being on the line, Ibrahim stayed in constant contact with his employer, St Martin in the Fields, as well as apprenticeship charity Leadership Through Sport and Business (LTSB), with staff visiting him in hospital.

He returned to work in March and after graduating from the apprenticeship scheme, he was presented with a resilience award from LTSB.

Days after, he received the news that his treatment had worked and he was cancer-free.

David Pinchin, chairman and founder of LTSB, said: “Ibrahim is an extraordinary young man and we’re all so delighted that he can now look forward and enjoy his life.

“Ibrahim has a bright future and I can’t wait to see how he develops.”

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