Mother grateful for support for 9-year-old son with many health challenges

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 23 April 2024 at 2:29 pm

YMCA on Saturday hosted benefit for Ahmed Cherif

Photos by Ginny Kropf: (Left) Neven, an 8-year-old volunteer with Voice Gavel Club, left, walks 9-year-old Ahmed Cherif down the runway during a fashion show Saturday at the YMCA. The fashion show was one of many events which took place at the Y to benefit Ahmed’s medical treatments. (Right) Mariem Cherif, left, chats with French interpreter Marie Scott of Lyndonville during a benefit Saturday at the YMCA in Medina to benefit Cherif’s son Ahmed. Looking on is Scot’s daughter Anma, 3. Mariem and Ahmed came to Medina a year ago from Tunisia seeking medical help for Ahmed, who faces multiple health problems.

MEDINA – A crowd of people filled areas of the YMCA Saturday during a fundraiser to benefit 9-year-old Ahmed Cherif, who came from Tunisia a year ago with his mother Mariem seeking medical help.

Organized by volunteers from World Life Institute in Waterport and the Voice Gavel Club (junior Toastmasters), the afternoon featured numerous events for children and adults, including a bounce house, henna painting, bookmark making station, paint pouring workshop, bake sale, concession stands, arts and crafts table, face painting, basketball game and walk with Ahmed during a youth fashion show.

Highlight of the afternoon was auctioning off a painting by a young artist named Aricia, a grade 10 student at St. Robert Catholic High School. The painting was donated by the Voice Gavel Club of Toronto and sold for $300.

Ahmed’s mother mingled with the crowd and shared her joy for the support they have received. She told about selling her car, quitting her job as an accountant and leaving everything behind to bring Ahmed here.

“She was very brave, going to the unknown,” said Marie Scott of Lyndonville, an interpreter who speaks French with Mariem.

“It’s so hard leaving Ahmed’s dad back in Tunisia,” Mariem said. “But I am so happy with Ahmed’s progress. Since I met Project Life things started moving ahead.”

Mariem is also attending English as a Second Language classes twice a week at World Life Institute Education Center in Waterport, under sponsorship of Orleans-Niagara BOCES.

While Ahmed still isn’t able to speak, there was no mistaking his joy on Saturday as he danced around with the other boys and girls.

Noori Bibi, vice president of the YMCA board, said the event was a huge success in her eyes.

“It was wonderful to watch people enjoy the many activities and the atmosphere,” she said. “There were people from not only our community, but neighboring places like Buffalo and Rochester, as well as Canada, who came to show their support. I am so proud of all the young people and what they accomplished on the day. I am also very grateful to all the volunteers and the Medina local businesses and the YMCA for their generous support. I know Ahmed and Mariem felt the love and support from the wider community.

“And although Ahmed doesn’t have the voice or words to express himself, he certainly showed his joy by dancing throughout the event,” Bibi said. “This was a great start to our fundraising efforts for Ahmed. Thank you to everyone who supported this and participated, and please keep on supporting Ahmed by donating on our website.”

Click here to donate through World Life Institute.

YMCA hosted a benefit Saturday in support of Ahmed Cherif, a 9-year-old from Tunisia who came to Medina with his mother for treatment of multiple medical conditions.