My cousin Naweed lost his battle with cancer this week.
Naweed must have been four or five years old when I first moved to the United States in 1986. Their home was my first home in this country. Ever since that time, I have had a very special relationship with Naweed, his parents and his brother. I watched him grow up to be a smart, intelligent and sensitive young man. I was shocked when I heard that he had cancer about two years ago. The first time I met him after that was when he had just finished an intense course of chemo at UCLA. The treatment had taken it's toll on him. He had become weak, he couldn't eat and was unable to walk.
But Naweed fought back and fought back hard. Within a few months, he was on his feet, back at work, following his favorite sports teams and driving a new car. The cancer would not let go but he fought with determination and a can-do attitude. He researched his condition, explored new treatment options and debated them with his doctors. Throughout his ordeal, he maintained a positive attitude and never gave up his fight. He started writing a blog, became active in his community and became an inspiration for all.
Naweed has taught me many valuable life lessons - never look back, move forward, fight the odds and maintain a positive attitude. He never felt sorry for himself. He realized that he had been dealt a poor hand of cards but figured out a way to play with what he had.
He has lost his battle with cancer but remains a champion for me. He will live in our memories and his story will remain an inspiration for his family and friends for years to come.