Hope for Aram: Fund to Fight Cancer

Final Update from the Ground

In the middle of the night on August 4th, our Advocacy fellow Shadi Khalloul woke up to his 11-year-old son violently seizing. The family rushed from their home in Northern Israel to the hospital in Haifa, where they received devastating news no parent should hear. Aram was diagnosed with Stage IV Glioblastoma Multiformae, an aggressive and lethal brain cancer with a grim prognosis. Aram had a year or two to live, the doctors said.

Shadi and the Khalloul family have been central to the Philos life and mission for years. Shadi has spearheaded the revival of Syriac Aramaic, the language Jesus spoke while on earth, and fostered a renaissance of Aramean national identity. His advocacy project, Galilee 2030, has made huge strides toward equality and self-determination for the Aramean people in their historic village of Baram.

When we heard the news, the Philos family was quick to respond. With the Hope for Aram campaign, we aimed to raise $40,000 to cover the costs of Aram’s treatments. From Galilee to D.C, from Toronto to Sweden, our community banded together to exceed our ambitious goals and embody the spirit of friendship behind our name. 216 donors from all over the world raised $43,686 to help Aram in his recovery.

Despite the odds, Aram’s cancer has stopped growing and he is on the road to recovery. Over the next 6 months, doctors will continue to monitor Aram’s cancer and assist him as he slowly resumes school and other activities. Please continue to stand with us as we pray for his total recovery. For more information or to offer encouragement, email Shadi Khalloul ([email protected])

Hope for Aram:

Fund to Fight Cancer

Aram's Story

In recent months, we received devastating news from a dear friend, our advocacy fellow, Shadi Khalloul. On August 4th, in the middle of the night, Aram, Shadi’s oldest son, seized violently. His double-decker bed shook as he convulsed, waking Aram’s younger bother underneath. The Khalloul family rushed from their home in the Galilee to the nearest hospital in Jish. After a week of anguish and nervous anticipation, Shadi and his wife received the news no parent should have to endure. Aram was diagnosed with stage IV Glioblastoma Multiforma, an aggressively growing brain cancer with an often grim prognosis: 1-2 years with intensive intervention.

The road ahead is daunting and uncertain. Given Aram’s age and the belligerence of his cancer, there is no way to know for sure what treatments will be effective. Only a few things are certain: The Khallouls are facing grueling months at incredible expense.

As the Philos family, we are banding together in prayer and support for the Khalloul family and working to raise $40,000 for Aram’s medical expenses. Over the past 5 years, we have been blessed by Shadi’s friendship, and today, in his moment of grief we want to bless him with ours. To join the cause and make a donation, click here.

After donating, help spread the word by posting on social media using the hashtag: #HelpAram.

To learn how you can submit a video for Aram, click the videos button.

Meet Aram

Aram with a gift from the Philos staff.

Aram celebrates his 11th birthday.

Aram at a birthday party before his diagnosis.

Aram and his younger brother, Yacov, on a family outing.

Shadi, Yacov, and Aram after a family picnic.

Aram and Yacov ready for school.

Aram and his mother, Oksana, in the chemotherapy ward.

Aram and the Philos Family


If you have traveled to Israel with Passages or attended some of our live events, you have likely had the privilege of working with Shadi Khalloul. For the past five years, he has worked to cultivate positive Jewish-Christian relations and reinvigorate Aramean national identity in the Galilee, the part of northern Israel bordering Lebanon.

His 11-year-old son, Aram, is a vibrant young boy who loves to practice the tuba and play with his brother when he isn’t in school. He is also one of the first people in all of the Near East to be formally registered as Aramean, due in part to his father’s relentless advocacy. This official documentation is a huge watershed moment in the struggle for Aramean identity, and Aram represents hope for progress and equality.

Aram’s cancer is an ever-evolving enemy and the treatment plan adapts daily. Several weeks ago, Aram endured invasive and precarious brain surgery, miraculously waking up with 80 percent of his tumor removed, and no major deficits. Another 20 percent will be removed during a second surgery. While there is no way to know for sure what treatments will be effective, doctors agree that Aram’s most promising prognosis is in seeking advanced treatments in the United States.

Despite the insurmountable circumstances, the Khalloul family is choosing to walk in faith, leaning on the everlasting love of God and the support of dear friends. Over the past 5 years, we have been honored to partner with Shadi in his work, and now we are honored to walk with him through this struggle.

Aram's Classmates' Messages of Hope


Prayers for Aram

Dr. Dru Johnson, director of the Center for Hebraic Thought, encourages Christians to pray and support Aram and his family.
A rabbi prays for Aram's healing at the Tomb of Rabbi Meir Baal HaNes (The Miraclemaker) in Tiberius.
A Syriac Aramaic monk prays for Aram at St. Mark Syriac Orthodox Church in Jerusalem.
The Aramean community in Barkin prays for Aram.
Aram’s classmates pray for him.
A priest from Haifa prays for Aram.
Arams’ classmates sing: “You are our hero.”
A family friend of Aram lights a candle for him at the tomb of St. Charbel on Mt. Lebanon.
Philos Israel Advocacy Fellow Neveen Elias sings a beautiful chant in Aramean for Aram.
Philos Israel Advocacy Fellow Neveen Elias prays at the church of Baraam.
Sami, a family friend, prays for Aram in the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.
Praying the Lord’s Prayer inside the Church of Christ the King.
Friends from Holland pray for Aram.
A family from Rami, a village in the north of Israel, prays for Aram.
Georgette from Lebanon prays for Aram outside the Church of Christ the King.
A friend from Mexico prays for Aram.
Votive candles are lit for Aram.
Nora from Sweden pray the lord prayer in Aramaic for Aram.

Engage with Aram directly by creating your own video and sharing on social media with the hashtag #HelpAram.

Philos would love to feature your video on this webpage as well. You are welcome to email it to [email protected]

If you would like to send Aram a handwritten card, please use the following address:

Hope for Aram c/o
The Philos Project
12 E 33rd St., Floor 2
New York, New York 10016