Abed’s story

Est. read time: 2-3 minutes.

 Abed Arabi is a little boy with a big smile.

The ten-year-old’s condition has not been diagnosed but he has a range of complex health needs, including the fact he cannot walk or talk.

He feeds through a PEG (percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy) tube and depends on round-the-clock support from parents Jalal and Rita.

Abed and his family receive care and support from East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH).

Sister Yafa, who recently completed an abseil to raise funds for EACH, said her brother loves spending time at The Treehouse.

“I can’t express how kind everyone is,” said the 14-year-old, who lives in Bacton, near Stowmarket.

“The staff have helped and offered such amazing support, which I know they do for so many other people.

“EACH has helped us find activities and opportunities we can do together.

“Abed enjoys music therapy, the sensory room and being in the pool for hydrotherapy. It’s the perfect mix.

“The Treehouse is somewhere he feels included and it’s about focusing on the things he can do, rather than the things he can’t.

“Just because he has a disability, he should still be able to enjoy life.”

Yafa says she loves her brother’s smiling face and describes him as ‘joyful, empathetic and carefree’.

“He embraces everything, doesn’t let anything hold him back and loves laughing,” she said.

“He’s got a great sense of humour and always makes me laugh.

“He’s also a very kind person, easy to be around and makes people feel better.

“He’s an absolute angel – my favourite person in the world and the best thing in my life.”

Yafa and Abed’s parents – Jalal is a dentist and Rita a doctor – both hail from Palestine.

They nervously watched on as their daughter completed the abseil, along with Yafa’s nan, Hilary.

She completed a 45-foot abseil down The Forum – one of Norwich’s most iconic buildings – in March and raised more than £1,000.

After setting herself a target of £100, the student at Hartismere School, in Eye, went on to raise more than £1,000.

“I’d describe it as terrifying but fulfilling,” she said.

“I was most anxious in the moments before I started coming down.

“That was the worst bit but when I was underway I quite enjoyed it.

“By the time I got to the bottom, I was ready to do it again!

“I’m proud of myself for having the courage to do it and also grateful to everyone who supported and encouraged me by donating.

“I wouldn’t have been able to do it otherwise.”

Abed attends Thomas Wolsey Ormiston Academy, in Ipswich,

Mum Rita said: “I feel so proud of my children and blessed by the love they have for each other.

“Yafa is the one person who can always make Abed smile, even if he’s in pain or uncomfortable. She never fails to make him laugh.”

Pictures: Glenn Hands/EACH

Published in April 2024

Families’ stories and experiences are unique to them and we have been kindly granted permission to share this family’s story. If you have been affected by what you’ve read or have a question and would like to talk to someone, please contact your local children’s hospice service or Together for Short Lives, the UK charity that supports families caring for seriously ill children (tel: 0808 8088 100).

Would you like us to write and share your own family story?

We give all those receiving support from EACH the opportunity to share their family story. All family members are welcome to get involved if they’d like to and we will never share your story until you are completely happy with it. If you have any questions or are interested in finding out more, please contact Matt Plummer, EACH Media and PR Manager at matt.plummer@each.org.uk.

He’s an absolute angel - my favourite person in the world and the best thing in my life.

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