Still Kickin Hero: June 2016
Every month, funds from our sales will go to support a new person who defines what it means to be Still Kickin.
Meet FARHIYA AND IBRAHIM.
Farhiya and Ibrahim met the old-fashioned way. Nope, not Match.com. Through their families, who knew each other back home in Somalia. The first time they met, they just asked each other a lot of questions. Things like, “Have you ever been married before?” and “What can you give me?” You know… casual first date stuff. It went on like that for a few weeks, and then, they decided to get married. It was June of 2004; Farhiya was nineteen years old, Ibrahim was twenty-nine.
Ibrahim was already a U.S. citizen, and returned to Minneapolis a married man, where he worked and saved to bring his wife to his new home. A year later, Ibrahim, Farhiya, and their newborn son journeyed to America together. They shared a one-bedroom apartment while Ibrahim worked as a security guard and went back to school for Social Work. They were young, in love, starting a whole new life in a whole new country.
Ibrahim became a social worker for Hennepin County, where he spent his days helping other people. The perfect job for a kind, hardworking man with a big heart.
They had two more boys, moved into a house in South Minneapolis, bought a mini-van, and raised their family. Life was good and happy.
"He doesn’t like staying in, he says I have to do something, this is my day. He wants to do something every day and go somewhere. That’s what he’s like, that’s what kind of personality he has."
And then the headaches started. Terrible headaches that made him vomit. Urgent care insisted it was nothing, but the Emergency Room doctors ran some tests, and everything changed. Farhiya remembers how fast everything happened. They went to urgent care on the fifteenth of June, and on July seventeenth, 2015, Ibrahim had his first brain surgery. The headaches were a symptom of Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), a brain cancer known for being ruthless and aggressive.
Ibrahim is an active dad. He spends his weekends playing soccer or working out, taking the kids to the park when it's nice out and to their basketball games in the wintertime. But brain cancer makes that hard for him.
"The boys need to play. They need a lot of activity, and I can’t do that because my husband is sick and he’s at home, and he needs me. It’s a different life."
Farhiya is far from home, and from her family. She is caring for the love of her life and the father of her children, making sure her three boys don't feel the stress. And she is still fast to greet you with a smile, a hug and a cup of tea. Her love for Ibrahim and their boys radiates from her warm smile. She is the kind of person you would hope to have on your side if something like this happened to you.
"Everyone has a struggle, life is a struggle. Somalis, we say ‘God will take care of us. There is nothing [more] we can do.’ Today is today, and tomorrow is tomorrow."
Still Kickin is about building a more supportive world. Every month, money from each purchase will go to a designated Still Kickin Hero. We don’t all have brain tumors (phew) but we all have something to overcome.
We’re taking applications for the next Still Kickin Hero right now. You can submit for yourself, or someone you know.
We are a 501c(3) non-profit, so you bet your a$$ we're accepting donations.