JEDDAH: Hana’a Iskandar, the younger sister of the popular social media celebrity Hamza Iskander, both fighters of a rare cancer, died Thursday. Her death follows her older brother who died on Jan. 24.
Hana’a was 24. Hamza was 25.
Hana’a suffered from sarcoma, a rare cancer, which is a result of transformed cells of mesenchyme origin.
The disease causes malignant tumors that attack bone, cartilage, muscles and the vascular system. The cancer typically attacks young people between the ages of 15 and 35.
Hana’a had been receiving chemotherapy treatment in Texas before returning to Saudi Arabia.
Hamza led a public life following his diagnosis with cancer by broadcasting YouTube videos and speaking in 2014 at a local TedX event for his Fight Cancer with a Smile campaign.
Following his death, Hana’a, who was 11 months younger than her brother, learned she had Stage 4 angiosarcoma.
She continued her brother’s work to help families and cancer patients transition from the shock of the initial diagnosis of the disease to acceptance.
Part of the program was to establish a cancer support room at Dar Al-Hekma University for patients with sensitive immune systems. She also worked on other campaigns such as the fundraising Bandana Campaign and Smile for Hamza.
Hana’a, who was an architect and fashion designer, usually introduced herself as the sister of Hamza as a way to keep alive his memory and the work he did to promote cancer awareness.
Norshid Ahmed, Hana’a and Hamza’s mother, told Arab News her daughter was hospitalized last week.
“Last night, after Maghreb, she was fully active and all was okay,” Ahmed said. “She was fully awake and conscious. She asked me to change her home clothes as she wanted to pray and read the Qur’an.”
On Thursday, her condition worsened and doctors determined she was bleeding from the brain. She passed away at 1:30 p.m.