Dr. Rasha Morsi Shares Story of Daughter Myrna’s Valiant Fight Against ITP, Inspiration Behind Naming Opportunity and BloodFeud Game

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Myrna MorsiECN had the privilege of sitting down with Dr. Rasha Morsi, an associate professor at the Center for Gaming Simulation at Norfolk State University in Norfolk, Virginia. She had originally contacted ECN in an attempt to pursue a naming opportunity at Children’s Cancer Hospital Egypt 57357 (CCHE). As we learned more about her background and intention in pursuing the naming opportunity, we discovered that Dr. Morsi and her family have a very special story to tell, one that is worthy of sharing with all.

Dr. Morsi is Egyptian-born, UK-raised, with a specialty in electrical engineering. Her young daughter, Myrna, was diagnosed with multiple ventricular septal defect (VSD) at the tender age of 8 months. Myrna’s case was particularly severe, as she had several holes in her small heart. She underwent multiple surgeries at just under 1 year of age to attempt to close the gaping holes that threatened her life, just barely surviving her surgeries.

By the time she was 5 years old, and now with a healthy heart, young Myrna had a fall that alarmed her family. They took her to the hospital only to discover that, she had idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP), a blood condition in which the immune system destroys blood platelets. Platelets are necessary for normal blood clotting to take place.

In order to combat this, Myrna was put on intravenous immune globulin (IVIG) treatments until her body became immune in its response. She was then placed temporarily on a newer ITP medicine (Rituximab) used only for adults at the time, seeing overall improvement but still with limited immunity. She continues to receive IVIG infusions on a monthly basis.

Myrna’s experience with her conditions emboldened her, heavily influencing her priorities and goals from a very young age. Motivated by her interest in helping to raise awareness about these issues, Myrna began participating in many school fundraising competitions run by the American Heart Association (AHA). Myrna has raised over $2,000 for AHA thus far, and her younger brother, Kareem, has separately raised $1,300.

Both ECN and its partner, Children’s Cancer Hospital Egypt 57357 (CCHE), feature extensive advertising campaigns on Arabic TV channels throughout the world. Dr. Morsi had heard about ECN through such an advertisement and, when mentioning it to her father, she discovered that he had already made a donation to CCHE. Dr. Morsi is consistently careful and deliberate in choosing which organization is deserving of her zakat elmal donations, made annually during the holy month of Ramadan. After seeing one of ECN’s advertisements, she was determined to put her zakat towards ECN’s mission and causes.

She mentioned this to her children, who had seen her working on her donation for a naming opportunity. Dr. Morsi wanted to help children in her native country, based on her background with Myrna and her respective illnesses. Both her children noticed that she was working diligently on the application and promptly decided to contribute. Dr. Morsi and her family now have completed a naming opportunity request for a Waiting Room in the new expansion of CCHE, made in light of Myrna and her family’s experience.

Also notable is that Dr. Morsi, in her professional capacity, focuses on game design and development for her research initiatives. In this field Dr. Morsi has been responsible for developing a myriad of interactive training tools, games and simulations for educational games, including winning a $4 million grant to develop a 3d nurse training program. Because of Myrna’s condition, Dr. Morsi spent much of her times in various medical clinics amongst many sick children who she felt didn’t understand what was happening to them. She was therefore inspired to figure out an enjoyable way to educate these children on the processes occurring in their bodies.

Eventually Dr. Morsi found a niche which she thought she could further develop, inspired by Myrna’s condition and her work on the aforementioned health training tool. In collaboration with her students, Dr. Morsi developed a game called Bloodfeud, an educational game based on informing youth about several of the most common diseases that children suffer from: leukemia, sickle cell anemia and ITP, respectively. Dr. Morsi and her team worked with Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters (CHKD) in Norfolk, VA in developing the medical details for the game.

The key for Dr. Morsi in developing this game is that the game is played to accurately depict how the medicine works in the body. Each player has a choice to see how the medicine deals with the illness they choose to combat. This could be especially helpful, Dr. Morsi explained, in helping children who are noncompliant with taking their mediation by encouraging them to do the contrary in thoroughly understanding how taking their medicine benefits them.

Bloodfeud is available for free download for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch at https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/bloodfeud/id568162520?mt=8. It may soon be available on Android also.Bloodfeud Logo

ECN is most grateful to Dr. Morsi and her family for their generous donation to a naming opportunity at CCHE, which will offer the hope for a cure and the gift of recovery to many children in Egypt. Patients will undoubtedly be inspired by the commitment of Myrna, Kareem and their parents to fighting disease and spreading awareness and understanding.

Egypt Cancer Network recently caught up with Dr. Akram Safadi, the CEO of NetOne International. NetOne International, a telecom company that provides international calling services to the US, Canada and Australia, began hosting a campaign for ECN and 57357 during Ramadan 2012.

NetOne belongs to a multi-business group that started in Orlando 25 years ago as a company pioneering the notion of “contributing without donating”, through which they used telemarketing agreements with AT&T as a means of giving funds back to the community in parts of their monthly billing. The main idea behind this initiative, at its conception, was to provide aid to schools that were dependent on donations so that they could utilize the purchase power of their communities to fund the schools without donating. Under this principle, NetOne became the premier agent of AT&T when it came to selling to ethnic markets. This effort generated more than $100 million in sales annually, simultaneously contributing millions of dollars to schools and charities throughout the United States.

As a telecom company, NetOne came into formal existence in 1998 as a spinoff of the original NetOne framework, created with the explicit goal of providing international calling services to ethnic communities in the US and Canada. They based their customer service centers in Egypt and have been located there for nearly a decade. As a result, Dr. Safadi has made many trips to Egypt for business. On one of his more recent trips, he and Baher Tabana, the president of NetOne Egypt, had the opportunity to visit CCHE, which they had heard so much about through TV ads and social media. Mr. Tabana’s mother, who is involved in the charity work in Egypt, facilitated a visit with Dr. Hanaa and Dr. Abouelnaga and they were given a tour which profoundly inspired and impressed them. Dr. Safadi said, “it was not only the medical aspect of it, which is outstanding, but also the humanitarian aspect… [CCHE] is a great humanitarian institute with outstanding medical care… [for] people from all walks of life… we were wow-ed!”

Not only did Dr. Safadi visit the renowned CCHE campus, but his calling center team also paid a visit to the premises in early November 2012.

His visit inspired him to seek out opportunities to help the “great institute“ of CCHE in any way that he could, as a company and a business. This generated the proposal of an idea: as NetOne has call centers in Egypt, they therefore have a great reach to the Arab-American community as it is such a major sector of their customer base. NetOne speaks to nearly 2,000 Arabs in the United States every day from their call centers in Egypt, from which they offer them services and provide customer service to them.

The idea that Dr. Safadi proposed was a joint effort in NetOne supporting CCHE through campaigns in which they offer the customer the same service that they are currently obtaining, and, at no cost to the customer, donating 0.5% of the purchase price to CCHE. CCHE and ECN are in the process of promoting and raising awareness of these campaigns, creating a win-win scenario through which NetOne, CCHE and ECN are all promoted.

The campaign was signed into effect just before Ramadan of this year and is ongoing, allowing NetOne and their customers to contribute to CCHE at all times. This type of campaign allows NetOne to offer something extra to the customer, distinguishing them from competition. In arranging for this campaign, NetOne International has committed to a level of contribution over the next three years that will reach at least $85,000, and will consequently pursue a naming opportunity with CCHE once this amount is obtained. In October, the campaigns generated $8,438 to 57357, and at this pace the $85,000 commitment will be met in one year instead of the three years span.

The toll free numbers that they are providing those interested in donating are: 1-855-GO-57357 for NetOne+57357 Campaign and 1-855-TO-57357 for Omniat+57357 Campaign. When customers call any one of these numbers, they go directly to the main call centers in Egypt and generate a donation to ECN, which is put towards CCHE. Please ensure that you call the aforementioned numbers if you are interested in donating to ECN.



On the one year anniversary of Egypt’s revolution, the Boston University Egyptian Club is challenging universities around the U.S.A in a competition to raise money for The Children’s Cancer Hospital in Egypt! This hospital, also known as 57357, is the largest and busiest pediatric cancer hospital in the world and is supported solely by private donations.  It opened its doors in 2007 and, immediately, was at full capacity.  In only five years, the survival rate for children with cancer has tripled that of other Egyptian hospitals, and is almost on par with the U.S.A. On top of that, the patients’ families are supported so they do not have to pay a single cent for the treatment of their children suffering from cancer.

Because of the large number of children applicants for cancer treatment, the hospital is only able to service 1 in 4 Egyptian children in need. The goal is to help double that capacity by 2015. Even though the hospital has been making unprecedented progress, it is at risk of losing the land granted to it by the government if it does not expand to accommodate more patients. So, we are going to raise the funds to get the design process completed and as a result, save the hospital and more children! That’s a $250,000 task. Are you up for it?

The Challenge

The terms of the challenge are simple: we are trying to raise $250,000 throughout the U.S.A


Each prize is a trip to Cairo with airfare and hotel included. A prize will be issued each time the total collected donations reach $10,000 increments. Recipients of prizes will be “democratically” designated by the team captain of the winning team at each collective $10,000 benchmark. Up to a total of five prizes will be distributed.

Challenge Rules

  1. Fundraising will start on January 25, 2012 and end on April 30, 2012.
  2. All teams must be affiliated with a US-based University.
  3. That’s it! Just have fun.

If you would like your university to participate, please click here.

There are 5,758 Colleges and Universities in the United States. That’s an average of more than 115 per state. Are you at one of them? If so, join the many student groups at campuses across the country for a competition and a cause. The competition… Who can be the first campus to raise $57,357? The Cause… giving the majority of children diagnosed with cancer in Egypt a chance to live. Children’s Cancer Hospital of Egypt 57357 (CCHE) has a five year survival rate of 80%. That’s on par with the U.S. and double Egypt’s cancer survival rate. All of their care is free and funded by private charitable donations. But only 1 out of 4 children’s can currently be treated at CCHE 57357 because there simply aren’t enough beds. We need your help to build an extension to this flagship hospital. If we don’t move fast, this will not happen because the hospital is at risk of losing the government donated land for the project if construction doesn’t begin within the coming months. We are turning to students because we know the power of your passion. If you can win a revolution, you can certainly expand a hospital! 25 million Egyptian students each donated 20 cents to Children’s Cancer Hospital of Egypt 57357, raising 5 Million dollars in a single day. We can do the same here in the U.S. Take the challenge. Email us at info@EgyptCancerNetwork.org to learn how.