Tarek, who is suffering from stage four of cancer, is hoping to come back to Morocco to be close to his family, his girlfriend said.
Tarek, a music enthusiast, found himself stranded in South Korea after receiving the shocking diagnosis.
The couple tried to return to Morocco for treatment since Tarek does not have medical insurance abroad. Tarek and his girlfriend, however, are unable to leave the Asian country due to the COVID-19 lockdown. Morocco closed its borders in mid-March.
Tarek hoped to return to Morocco for treatment and to “be close with his family,” Lea told Morocco World News.
“We were unable to leave Korea and I decided to start a GoFundMe crowdfunding campaign to help him get donations for his urgent treatment here.”
Lea managed to start a crowdfunding campaign to help Tarek get his surgery. The life saving operation cost $13,000.
According to GoFundMe, Lea raised €19,105 from 283 donors. The couple’s goal is to raise € 40,000 to cover both the surgery and chemotherapy.
Lea told MWN that Tarek’s surgery was successful.
“His surgery went well and he was discharged with no complications yesterday. Thank you to the team of nurses and doctors,” she wrote.
Tarek, however, is set to start chemotherapy after recovering from the surgery.
Patients undergoing chemotherapy are more prone to infections, according to Natural Medicine Journal.
“Since immune system cells divide quickly—especially during an immune response—they are among the many targets of chemotherapy,” the journal wrote.
Patients undergoing chemotherapy therefore face heightened danger of infection from fungal, viral, and bacterial infections.
The “immunosuppression” from chemotherapy will make Tarek more vulnerable to COVID-19.
Medical professionals advised Tarek to “start three months of chemotherapy, meaning at least 4 cycles will be needed,” Lea Wrote on her April 22 update at Go Fund Me.
She said the oncologist confirmed on April 22 that Tarek will need to rest and recover for about 4 weeks before beginning chemotherapy.
“One cycle costs approx. 3,300 USD and on top of that, hospital admission for 5-6 days can amount to the same amount. That means one cycle, with hospital admission and meals, will cost up to 8 million KRW (approx. 6,500 USD). For 4 cycles, that would be 32 million KRW or 26,000 USD,” she wrote.
Lea acknowledged that the situation will be tough for them due to COVID-19.
“I know everyone’s going through a rough time these days and I’m so grateful for all the support and donations – you guys are INCREDIBLE.”
Lea is asking and “begging” everyone to share the campaign with friends and family to help Tarek recover
“I’m really terrified of losing Tarek. He means the world to me. He’s such an amazing person and deserves a chance in this world,” she wrote.
Tarek is not the only Moroccan stranded abroad. The number of Moroccans stuck abroad is estimated at more than 22,000. Morocco’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Nasser Bourita said that 22,000 people contacted Moroccan consulates and embassies to ask for help.
The minister vowed that the country is now working on solutions to repatriate all of its citizens stranded abroad. He also reaffirmed that Morocco’s representations abroad are helping all people who need assistance.