After an Emirati man desperately took to social media to raise 3 million dirhams ($816,800) needed for urgent cancer treatment after his current medication stopped working, Dubai's Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan stepped forward and pledged to pay for his medical expenses.
"It's impossible to get approval for this treatment and I can't save up for it. Who can donate?," Khalifa Dafoos Almehairi, who is currently based in Houston, Texas, U.S., wrote on his Instagram account.
On Thursday morning, Almehairi launched a GoFundMe page (a for-profit crowdfunding platform), through which he managed to raise an astonishing amount of $674,915 in just 3 days.
By Friday evening, a total of 2,355 people had donated to his cause, exceeding his original goal of $500,000. The page also received more than 2,400 shares via Twitter and Facebook.
The young Emirati adult had been receiving treatment in the U.S. and was told by doctors that he only had 3 more years to live, after undergoing a lung surgery followed by unsuccessful chemotherapy.
Shortly after his post went viral on social media, Dubai's Sheikh Hamdan reached out to Almehairi and pledged to fund the rest of his treatment.
"You are brave and we are with you," the Crown Prince commented under his Instagram video.
The UAE cancer charity Rahma estimates that chemotherapy can cost up to 32,000 dirhams ($8,711) a month.
With a course of treatment potentially lasting months, care bills can escalate beyond the reach of many without a comprehensive health insurance plan in place.
In one of his latest videos, a smiling Almehairi tells his followers that positivity is key to fighting for his life, quoting that the "secret of healing is in a smile".
UAE cancer statistics
In the UAE, approximately 4,500 new cases of cancer are reported annually. In 2012, cancer was the third leading cause of deaths in the capital city of Abu Dhabi.
The UAE government says it is determined to bring down cancer fatalities by nearly 18 percent by 2021.
According to a 2011 report released by Abu Dhabi's Health Authority, the top five cancer types reported by males are:
- Brain cancer
In females, the top five cancer types reported are: