Twitter and thousands of her followers lost an avid and inspiring tweeter on Dec. 1. Reema Nawawi, known on Twitter as Rex Toma Nawato, battled with cancer ever since she graduated from high school until she lost her fight three nights ago.
During her fight for her life, she shared her aching experience and ongoing struggle with her illness through her Twitter account @rextomanawato and gained over 7,000 followers, plus another 5,000 after she died.
“@Samyyusuf thank you. Your song ‘Healing’ always soothes me when I listen to it, God bless you. I’m proud of you as a Muslim singer, Sir.” Reema expressed her gratitude to the singer whose songs she listened to during chemotherapy. She shared things she had to deal with that we all take for granted. “I know that I am the reason for delaying the flight back due to the lack of an oxygen tank on the airplane, but I swear I’m not being childish, I seriously am not able to fly without it.”
As her life became increasingly punctuated by surgery, chemical, radiological, hormonal treatments and periods of convalescence, Reema decided to go to China for treatment. Here tests showed that her left lung was no longer working and would need to be removed via nano-chemical therapy.
On Oct. 9, 2011, Asim Tashkandi uploaded a video on YouTube of her Twitter fans welcoming her arrival at the airport from her trip to China. The video Rex Tweetup shows Reema’s effusive emotions over her warm welcome. Her fans showered her with gifts, flowers and most vitally reassuring smiles. The video has been viewed over 45,000 times and evoked around 300 comments.
Among her supporters was writer Najeeb Zamil, who had been her biggest fan and wrote to her words of encouragement in his article last Ramadan: “I didn’t write about Reema because she’s a unique case, but because she’s an inspiration to all of us... She taught me that whoever didn’t understand pain, will never understand life’s pleasures… Dear Allah!”
Reema was a gifted artist in anime, or Japanese animation. She had even taught herself the Japanese language because of that passion. She evoked the same passion in her Twitter fans as she encouraged them to love life and be kind to one another. “How beautiful is it to show your morals and sprinkle a smile upon your face, even when you are seen as a mysterious stranger. You’ll find that it overcomes barriers and you’ll gain happiness through it”, she said.
She put up a strong fight and never lost her faith in Allah through it all. “In addition to instant morphine needles in the morning and night, Allah is the one that holds the key to my healing.”
On Nov. 19, Reema wrote the last tweets of her life. “Pray for me, my body is shivering with pain,” she cried out. “My body shivers, as if it is shaking with electricity, God forgive me, my body is shaking strongly, oh Allah.”
When the news broke that Allah had closed her chapter on this earth and the world had lost this beautiful and pure spirit, people showered her family with condolence tweets.
I cannot express enough how I have been moved by Reema’s story. I never knew Reema personally, but I will never forget her. She made me feel close to her as she reached out through her Twitter account, teaching us hope. I am sure her thousands and thousands of fans share my feelings. On behalf of Arab News, we send our condolences to her family and Twitter friends. May Allah rest her soul and bring peace to her grieving family.
By Halah Gandeel