Pope Tawadros II of the Coptic Orthodox Church has paid a visit to the children’s cancer hospital in Cairo, famously known as Hospital 57357, the figure 57357 denoting the bank account on which donations for the hospital are made.
On hand to receive the Pope were a group of children receiving treatment at the hospital, all dressed in blue T-shirts. They welcomed him with smiles and flowers.
A reception was held for the Pope in the hospital’s conference room; the national anthem was played and the platform was adorned with Egypt’s tri-coloured flag.
Amr Ezzat Salama, head of the board of trustees of the hospital, gave a word in which he warmly welcomed Pope Tawadros and expressed how happy everyone at the hospital was with the visit. Dr Salama said: “I welcome you, as does everyone at this hospital, from the depth of our hearts. Your visit makes us so happy, since your prayers will bring us blessings. This hospital was established through the efforts of the Egyptian people and God has abundantly blessed it. Now you have come to us with prayers and blessings.”
The hospital was founded by Ola Ghabbour (1960 – 2013) who was a great humanitarian, a pioneering philanthropist, and an untiring advocate and friend of children. She was the wife of Raouf Ghabbour, the pioneer of car manufacture in Egypt.
Mrs Ghabbour began fundraising among her family and friends despite ridicule for her seemingly impossible dream. In her campaign she encouraged even the poor to donate, and her dream finally began to materialise in 1999 with the start of construction of the building. Today, the hospital’s website boasts the message: ”Children’s Cancer Hospital Egypt 57357 is the largest children’s cancer hospital in the world. CCHE is leading the way in healthcare in Egypt and is a model of what people can do when they work together for the benefit of mankind.”
The 57357 Hospital is now not confined to Cairo but has opened a branch in the Delta town of Tanta.
31 July 2017