Butcher Opens Doors to Care for Children with Cancer


When a child has a chronic illness, like cancer, families sometimes have to travel thousands of miles just so their child can receive treatment.

When this occurs, they are at the mercy of landlords who charge high rent knowing full well they have very limited options.

It’s a difficult situation when the treatment center is far from friends and family. The families must pay large amounts of money just so their child can receive the treatment they need, and there is very little left over for a place for them to stay.

In Cairo, a butcher has done something to help this tenuous situation. Zaza Ogaz made a decision three years ago that has helped a score of children and their families.

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Ogaz, who is 50 years old, took an empty apartment in his building and transformed it into a safe haven for the families and children who are suffering from cancer. He never charges those who stay there and refuses to take donations.

Ogaz reported, “I got the idea because I felt bad after I found people renting apartments or beds to patients for large amounts of money.” It takes a man with a strong moral center to see an injustice, and do something to personally confront it.

He continued, “So I decided that I would do something for free and I won’t accept donations. Why should people suffer from not only sickness but also high expenses?“

The apartment itself is decorated with whimsical characters like Winnie the Pooh and Minnie Mouse. Some children ride on scooters alongside those in wheelchairs.

The children can enjoy recreation as well as watching cartoons in the comfortable apartment. The parents enjoy downtime while the children play with each other.

Ogaz provides meals as well as comfortable shelter for the families. He also loves playing with the children and buys them gifts.

When asked why Ogaz does not accept donations, he said he is doing this charitable work in honor of his late mother-in-law and mother.

Om Israa commented, “I came here and he welcomed me and I found a place to stay. I told him I am not moving until I am done.” Israa has a child who is being treated for cancer at the nearby hospital.

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Families travel from all over Cairo to get treatment at the hospital, and many of them have shelter in Ogaz’s apartment.

He has created a wonderful place of healing that is much needed for the families of children with cancer.

If we were all as generous and involved as this man, the world would be a far better place.

Even if you don’t have the space or funds to house suffering families, there is always something you can do — and every act, no matter how small, helps balance out the pain and hurt in the lives of those around us.

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A proud reference librarian at San Diego Law Library, Havilah is a recent graduate from iSchool at San Jose State University with her master's in library and information science.
A proud reference librarian at San Diego Law Library, Havilah is a recent graduate from iSchool at San Jose State University with her master's in library and information science. She is passionate about writing and education, and most recently created content for the iStudent blog at SJSU. She is also on the board at SANDALL, a chapter of the American Association of Law Libraries, currently serving as secretary.