Nine-year-old raises $2000
To look at him, Toronto’s Michael Fessaha is a regular kid – just turned nine, a handsome young man with a twinkle in his eye and who is always on the go. But beneath the exterior lies a soul that’s wise and compassionate beyond its years. Few of us, let alone a kid, can lay claim to raising $2000 for cancer research.
In December 2005, Michael’s father was diagnosed with stomach cancer. His frequent visits to the hospital for chemo treatments had impacted Michael, and as his journey was coming to an end, his only child was deeply affected. Although his final five weeks in palliative care at The Princess Margaret were filled with love (“His room could easily have been mistaken for a maternity room, there was so much joy,” explains his wife, Gaby Abdelgadir), Michael’s father passed away on February 13, 2008.
Michael took his father’s death exceptionally hard, and through sage advice, was set up with a guidance counselor, Carrie Mack, to ease him through the tragic loss. Mack brought Michael together with Lisa Slater, a teacher at St. Albert Elementary Catholic School in Scarborough, Ontario.
One day, Michael’s mother received a phone call at work. “A teacher [Slater] from Michael’s school was on the phone,” recalls Abdelgadir. “I asked her if everything was okay and she assured me that it was. But then she got emotional as she told me of a plan Michael had discussed with her.”
* Samaritanmag.com is an online magazine covering the good deeds of individuals, charities and businesses.