Empowering Young Lives Through Global Support



It took seven-year-old Leila a long time to be diagnosed with cancer. The story is not uncommon in her town of Zahedan, Iran. Now an adult, Leila can still vividly remember the early days before her diagnosis, traveling from hospital to hospital, town to town, until finally arriving at MAHAK Hospital. There, Leila got the diagnosis her family feared but needed to know: she had soft tissue sarcoma in her left arm. Young Leila went through a series of surgeries, including the amputation of her left arm and two years of chemotherapy.

Her family recalls being surprised by how well Leila seemed to take every bit of bad news in stride. Her relentless positivity was a source of strength for her family, keeping her parents and siblings from falling apart. Even now, she recounts her story without any grief or sadness. When asked about her experiences growing up with cancer, she just smiles and speaks of how happy she was after her amputation; she did not have any more pain. The most challenging part, the brave young woman recalls, was the two years of chemotherapy she endured after the surgery—even more difficult than losing her arm.

Today, Leila has been cancer-free for eight years. Always a beacon of positivity and hope, Leila has continued to thrive and is currently attending the University of Shiraz, where she is majoring in computer science.

Her experiences have made her wise beyond her years. When looking back, she keeps one powerful message in mind:

“This disease was not in my power, but the future is,” she said. “It is in my hands to build the future and build it in a way that will help to ease the pain of the past. It is in my power to thank God that I have a strong spirit, because to have a weak spirit is worse than having a disability.”

Stories like Leila’s showcase the astounding and inspiring power of hope, a feeling the International Society for Children with Cancer (ISCC) works to foster in every one of the children and families they help.

Photo © Courtesy of International Society for Children with Cancer

Behind the ISCC

In the face of the immense challenges of childhood cancer, ISCC provides hope and support for children and their families worldwide. Founded in 2004 by two remarkable women, Saideh Ghods and Fereshteh Tavakoli, who witnessed the transformative impact of the non-profit organization, MAHAK, in Iran, ISCC has grown into a global non-profit organization dedicated to providing financial assistance and comprehensive services to children battling cancer.

MAHAK successfully aided over 23,000 underprivileged children affected by cancer, leading the two founders to expand their mission on a global scale—their commitment and determination paved the way for the establishment of ISCC.

ISCC’s core mission centers around making a difference in the lives of cancer-stricken children, adolescents, and their families, ensuring they receive the highest quality care and support, irrespective of their financial circumstances.

“I believe in ISCC. I have been volunteering with them for many years. My grandson, who will turn 18 in December, is also an avid advocate and volunteer. To me, they are one of the best charity organizations in California. They help not only children with cancer but their families. They remain committed to their cause. They are non-political, non-religious and non-governmental. We should be proud to see this group give so much of themselves to help these children.” — Zari Faripour, ISCC Volunteer

Since its inception, ISCC has partnered with 17 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) operating in 12 different countries across the globe, including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Colombia, and the United States. But their work is nowhere near complete: ISCC aims to extend its reach to more countries and help even more children and families access the care they need.

Building Bright Futures

ISCC recognizes that fighting cancer requires more than just medical treatment. They offer a range of support services to alleviate the burdens faced by families during the healing process.

Lodging for Parents

ISCC ensures that parents can be close to their children during treatment by providing lodging options, including the opportunity for one parent to stay in the hospital room with the child.

Nutritious Meals

Proper nutrition is vital for the well-being of children undergoing cancer treatment. ISCC offers nutritious meals to ensure that these young patients receive the nourishment they need.

Transportation and Travel Cost Assistance

Transportation costs can be a significant barrier for families seeking specialized medical care. By providing travel cost assistance, ISCC eases the financial burden associated with accessing treatment facilities.

Photo © Courtesy of International Society for Children with Cancer
Psychological Counseling

The emotional toll of cancer affects not only the child, but also their families. ISCC offers psychological counseling to help both children and their loved ones cope with the challenges and uncertainties they face.

“I immigrated to the United States in 2002, but I was involved with MAHAK long before that,” said Dr. Malakeh Zahedi, an advisory board member at ISCC. “My husband and I were introduced to ISCC by a friend, and we were immediately inspired by their work. I was honored to join the ISCC’s advisory board and have been in close contact with this organization ever since. I am blessed to be a small part of this group and feel very thankful for everything they have been doing for the children with cancer all over the world. God bless them all.”

To help give hope and make a difference in the lives of children like Leila, please become an ISCC partner and join us as a monthly member.

Help make a difference in the lives of cancer-stricken children, adolescents, and their families. Visit iscc-charity.org to learn more and get involved, or call 949-679-9911.

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The International Society for Children with Cancer (ISCC) was formed in keeping with the 4th goal of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals; to help reduce child mortality by the target date of 2015. 


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