This is Bahrain’s Watermelon man.
Zakareya Al Kadhem is the Chairman of Bahrain’s Sickle Cell Anemia Society and a sufferer himself. And, like any other sickle cell anemia patient, he requires frequent hospitalization to manage his condition.
But, over time, this tireless patient rights’ campaigner become so engrossed in what his “subjects”, and he himself, suffer from, that he constantly devises new plans to alleviate their suffering.
“The summer is a great time for some very effective therapy,” he says. “Since the one sure way to get relief from sickle cell disease symptoms is to stay hydrated, what better way than to eat, and ‘drink’ watermelons,” he says.
“This is the watermelon season and plenty of these are easily available and are very affordable as well.
“I encourage everyone to have as much watermelon as possible in any form whatsoever and this, over the last few years, has helped. There are now fewer hospital referrals for us patients and, certainly, fewer fatalities.
“I am not saying this is a cure but, yes, it is something that reduces the symptoms considerably.
“After all, how much water can one have and for how long. With watermelons, there is no such issue. Anyone is up for a sweet watermelon at any time.”
His campaign has now come to such a pass that he always gives watermelons as gifts, and receives watermelons at his home at all times from his friends and admirers. Recently when he himself was hospitalised, he received scores of watermelons as opposed to flowers and sweets along with Get Well Soon messages.
“We even have real watermelon chunks as ‘cake’ at children’s birthdays. It’s a win-win situation for everybody and we’re all happy.”
May his tribe prosper!