Cover Story

Fight for life

Novemver 18 - 24, 2020
Gulf Weekly Fight for life

Family, friends and community organisations are rallying together to help a cancer-stricken mother who is battling against the disease.

Rina Obico, a Filipino expatriate who is suffering from breast cancer, is fighting for her life and needs a costly set of treatments to stand any chance of survival after chemotherapy alone provided only a temporary reprieve.“I am forever grateful and appreciative of the kindness I have received,” said Rina, 51, from Tubli. “I still have a long way to go though but I’m determined to battle on.

“Since my diagnosis, I have witnessed many miracles through the people surrounding me. I saw kindness and pure humanity. From doctors to strangers that became my friends to people I don’t know. They are the miracles God sent me.”

Rina, a secretary who has been living in Bahrain for 14 years, has been battling the disease since January of last year after her 28-year-old daughter spotted a lump on her breast and armpit and urged her to get it checked out.

After running a series of tests at Salmaniya Medical Complex, the diagnosis was confirmed as stage IV breast cancer bone metastasis.

She needs to complete eight cycles of chemotherapy and Herceptin, costing BD540 a time. 

“I was told by my doctor, Dr Orhan Sencan of King Hamad University Hospital, to never give up fighting for my life and to not be shy about asking for help.

“He explained that for my cancer type, which features HER2 Receptor Positive (a protein that promotes the growth of cancer cells), the only medicine to stop it from spreading is Herceptin combined with chemo.

“However, it is so expensive and I am doing the best I can with my daughter Caren to raise the funds.

“Some amazing people have already stepped forward when they found out about my situation.”

Trastuzumab, sold under the brand name Herceptin among others, is a monoclonal antibody used to treat breast cancer and stomach cancer.

Herceptin works by attaching itself to the HER2 receptors on the surface of breast cancer cells and blocking them from receiving growth signals.


One individual from @oneheartbahrain donated BD100, big-hearted community group Discover Islam pledged BD300 and a collection of friends pulled together and found an additional BD111. It’s almost enough to help cover the first session.

The Philippines Embassy in Bahrain and Dr Hussain Ismaeel from SMC, with support from the Bahrain Cancer Society, helped her during the initial treatment and, for a short time, it looked like it might work.

The cancerous mass got smaller and healed. Dr Raed Al Marzooq removed it at Al Kindi Specialised Hospital and her surgery was completed and paid for in July by Madam Marwa, a kind benefactor.

Rina’s recovery went well but in October the lumps returned. Caren added: “My mum is a hopeful person and that is what makes her strong. What hurts the most is that if she loses her battle to cancer, it’s not because she didn’t fight, but because we couldn’t afford the treatment. I want only the best for her.”

For more details Rina can be contacted on 32110574 and Caren on 39120824.

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