Ali Banat: the man with the Gift of Cancer

Ali Banat (born February 16, 1982), an Australian based charity worker, social activist, philanthropist, entrepreneur, and founder of the MATW (Muslims Around The World) Project passed away on Tuesday, May 30, 2018.

Just like me, you might not have heard of Banat before, but his story resonated with the millions of people who came to know of him after his ‘Gifted With Cancer’ video went viral. Such was his diagnosis of fourth stage Testicular cancer that it completely changed his life, and he decided to donate all his wealth in charity to Muslims Around the World (his own projected helmed in the October of 2015).

Earlier, in 2015, Banat was living a pleasant life in Greenacre, Sydney’s south-west, with his wife and family, in Austalia. He made a comfortable living, running two successful business in the city, and as he showed off, in the viral video, his huge bedroom lined with Louis Vuitton shoes (the only band of footwear he wore), along with a bracelet that cost him $60,000, with one of his cars which included a Ferrari Spider worth $600,000, one could see that ever since he got sick, none of it meant anything to him.

He said, “When you find out you’re sick or you don’t have much time to live, this is the last thing you want to chase. And that’s how we should live our lives every day,” he said.

Banat was told by the doctors that he had seven months to live, but instead, he lived for another blessed three years. In all this time, he was only dedicated to doing good as he donated his wealth and money to thousands of people across a number of countries including Togo, Ghana, and Burkina Faso.

To make sure that his organisation, MATW, was run in good hands, Ali visited various countries in Africa himself and worked hard to find sponsors, to see that 100% of the donations would go into the project and not be divided with administrative fees.

With the money collected, MATW aimed at building villages for over 200 widows, a mosque, a school that would house 600 orphans, a mini-hospital/medical centre, as well as businesses to support the local community.

Banat also founded the Go Fund Me charity organisation.

His personal bank account in the Commonwealth Bank of Australia was closed without any prior or due notice in the September of 2016.

For Banat, his cancer was his blessing because it brought him closer to Allah and his mankind. The reality of his life before his diagnosis deemed, more often than not, to be a mere a reflection of the shortcomings in his character and his own person. May God, indeed, give him better than what he prayed for, for himself and others.