By Ken MacLeod

LOWELL (CBS) – After months of battling brain cancer, a Lowell 7-year-old is getting his young life back. Just this week, he was healthy enough to return to school.

Amid the wailing sirens of his police and fire escort, Ahmed Juma returned to his Lowell elementary school like a rock star.

“He forgot that he’s a sick child for that moment,” said Lorna Kiplagat of Lowell Community Health.

Ahmed Juma (WBZ-TV)

Indeed when it comes to video games Ahmed is like most 7-year-olds. But many memories from his young life are not so good.

“My head was hurting and I was throwing up too much,” Ahmed said.

He’s talking about the chemo and radiation that’s kept him away from school since he was diagnosed with brain cancer in November.

Ahmed came to this country and Lowell four years ago with his mom and younger brother, refugees from the brutal civil war in the Congo. Ahmed’s dad is still in a refugee camp overseas.

Ahmed Juma returns to school (Image from Lowell Sun)

“Coming to a new community that causes a lot of challenges to begin with, then you throw a diagnosis like this on, it’s a lot to take,” Lowell Police Captain Tim Crowley said.

So when doctors decided Ahmed could return to school part time, his community health liaison requested a simple police car ride to make it special.

The city — and his school, Murkland Elementary — responded with an extravaganza.

“Culturally where we come from a village raises a child,” said Kiplagat. “My hope for Ahmed is to be cured and live this life to the fullest.”

There’s a long road ahead but some love from Lowell sure helps.

Ken MacLeod


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