A new section of 60 hospital beds has been inaugurated at the Children Cancer Hospital, better known in Egypt as 57357. The new section was opened in a celebration held on Saturday 21 March to mark Mothers Day and commemorate the hospital’s founder Ola Ghabbour (1960 – 2013).
Mrs Ghabbour was a great humanitarian, a pioneering philanthropist, and an untiring advocate and friend of children. She was the primary catalyst behind the foundation of the now-famous Children’s Cancer Hospital 57357 in Cairo. The ‘57357’ is the number of the bank account through which donations were invited; the hospital became so linked to the figure that it was finally—and spontaneously—named after it.
Mrs Ghabbour was wife of Raouf Ghabbour, the pioneer of car manufacture in Egypt. She left behind three children Kamal, Nader, and Dina who is married to Sherif Abdel-Nour and has one daughter, Mariam. The young Ghabbours are business administration graduates and are working with their father in his enterprise, Ghabbour Auto.
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.”
Mrs. Ghabbour was also one of the founders of the Breast Cancer Foundation of Egypt, Chairman of the Board of the Association of Friends of the National Cancer Institute (AFNCI). She was actively involved with countless other hospitals and foundations that offered health care to the needy.
In 2008, Mrs. Ghabbour received the prestigious World Health Award and, in 2012, she was recognised by the Middle East and North Africa American Chamber of Commerce Seminar held in Tunisia, as the Best Woman within non-profit organisations, for her role in the foundation of the 57357 Hospital, as well as for her pioneering charity work.
All the Ghabbour family members were on hand for the recent celebration to open the new hospital section. Also present was the bishop Anba Ermiya, head of the Coptic Orthodox Cultural Council; Dr Boutros Boutros Ghali, former UN Secretary-General; Admiral Mohab Mamish, Chairman of the Suez Canal Authority; Minister of Industry and Trade Mounir Fakhry Abdel Nour; Emirati businessman Saeed Swuaidan; Sheikh Badri al-Mazini, the Saudi Arabian businessman; Tarek Nour, head of one of the largest advertising agencies in the Middle East; Dr Amr Ezzat, former Minister of Higher Education; Dr Hany Hussien, General Manager of Children Cancer Foundation; Dr Sherif Abul Naga, Deputy Manager of the 57357; the Lebanese Singer Iwan. All spoke of the founder’s lasting impact in the humanitarian field.
The 57357 Hospital is now not confined to Cairo but has opened a branch in the Delta town of Tanta. The new section at the Cairo hospital will go a long way to help the hospital accommodate those children who have to be placed on the waiting list for treatment.
29 March 2015