“Of course, it was a difficult time,” he recalls, “but what I remember most is the gentleness and enormous sense of caring extended to me by City of Hope staff.”
Ramsey Hakim’s life has been one of opportunities seized and privileges enjoyed. In 1976, his family fled their civil war torn home in Beirut, Lebanon, settling in France. Seven years later, 17-year-old Ramsey immigrated to the United States. He attended college, obtained his bachelor’s degree, then an MBA. He married and fathered two sons.
Professionally, he ascended the corporate ladder, becoming a vice president at a major telecommunications corporation. By his own account, he was traveling the world in style and living a privileged life.
But in 2002, Ramsey fell ill with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), a leukemia that was linked to chemotherapy he had received 11 years earlier for the successful treatment of Hodgkin’s lymphoma. A bone marrow transplant (BMT) would now be his only chance for survival. Without a family member who could serve as a marrow donor for Ramsey, a search was launched through the National Marrow Donor Program. Ramsey was cautioned that because of his Middle Eastern ethnicity, locating a potential donor might be unlikely. Fortunately, there were 17 matches identified. “Obviously, there is more to genetic history than any of us can imagine,” says Ramsey, gratefully.
Ramsey underwent a BMT in September 2002. “Of course, it was a difficult time,” he recalls, “but what I remember most is the gentleness and enormous sense of caring extended to me by City of Hope staff.”
Today, Ramsey is healthy and has seized new opportunities. Desiring to spend more time with family, he resigned from his executive position and began a new venture, becoming a managing partner of a real estate management firm. He coaches his sons’ soccer and basketball teams and serves on the boards of several nonprofit organizations. And as a devoted soccer fan, he is looking forward to traveling to Germany where he will resume a tradition of taking his family to each World Cup Soccer tournament. Time with family, being of service to others and indulging a passion for soccer: a privileged life, indeed.