Adam, 18 ans

Adam, 18 years old

One June morning, Adam woke up with a sharp pain in his back.

“I wasn’t really worried at first because I get a lot of backaches. Except the next night, it was bad enough to keep me awake. The morning after that, my dad suggested we go to the hospital where he works, so I did.”

After examining him thoroughly, the doctors told him he had rhabdomyosarcoma, a cancerous tumour in the cells of his muscles. He was transferred to Sainte-Justine right away.

He put his first term of CEGEP in pure and applied science on hold, and he was hospitalized for a whole month. “I was stuck in a hospital room for the first time in my life. My tumour had to shrink before they’d let me out.”

The treatments after his surgery were hard – alternating between strong meds and blood tests, with a few days rest in between, over 3-week cycles. Adam turned 18 at the hospital, right in the middle of a course of chemotherapy.

Despite all this, he remained calm, confident and disarmingly serene. He clearly had a lot of support in his corner. There were his friends, who came out in droves to keep him company and lift his spirits while he was in the hospital. “Hang in there, dude”, they would say.

There was also his karate. “I love everything about the sport. It pushes you to be the best you can be. You never stop. I’m going for my black belt and I’m almost there.”

And then there was his family. His parents and his little brother, Mohammed. They were his rocks, always there for him, with a positive outlook, no matter how worried they were. “I’ve also received tons of support from my family overseas. My two grandmothers even came from Algeria to see me. One of them had never travelled such a long distance in her life – she can’t stand flying. It did me a lot of good to see them again.”

Adam is looking forward to going back to school in October. “The reason I chose pure and applied science is to keep my opportunities open for the future. I really enjoy it, even though sometimes it’s like, um, is this going to be over soon…? But I did well in science in high school, so I thought to myself, ‘Let’s do this!’”

We were curious to find out if he was planning on making up for his low-key 18th birthday party with a big bash on his 19th. “No, I don’t need that, he laughs. I just want to go out with some friends and have a piece of cake. Nothing fancy.”

When you’ve got your health, happiness truly is in the little things.



Because you give to the CHU Sainte-Justine Foundation, we are one step away from curing even more cases of pediatric cancer. For Adam, your commitment also means ongoing personalized support once he’s cancer-free so he can live his adult life to the fullest, with as few adverse effects as possible.