Cancer: Ghalia Shabib's Story - Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago

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Ghalia Shabib's Story

Age 21, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

RIC patient Ghalia ShabibDiagnosed at the age of two with neuroblastoma, Ghalia’s cancer metastasized and spread to several other organs. After enduring rounds of chemotherapy and radiation, the tumor remained and she was forced to undergo a complicated surgery to remove the malignancy.

The position of the tumor was problematic and the removal compromised her spine resulting in the onset of scoliosis. The disease severely limited her ability to move and became even more problematic as she grew older.

Her parents in Saudi Arabia were concerned with her declining condition and yearned for their daughter to achieve more independence. They specifically sought out RIC, based on the reputation and belief that RIC could make a difference in her life.

When she arrived at RIC she was in a rudimentary wheelchair – the only device available to them in their remote area – unable to walk or even propel herself in the chair.

Her integrated team started intensive gait training, created customized orthotics for her feet, and made immediate changes to her medications.

Two months after her arrival at RIC, Ghalia had gained enough strength and mobility to propel herself in the wheelchair and was proud to show her friends and family that she could actually walk on her own with crutches – and even manage the stairs.

She has since returned to her college classes and will be back at RIC in the near future for additional therapy and treatments.