At 18 and a senior in high school, Shabbar Danish received some devastating news - his father was diagnosed with leukemia. 

“He was only 49 at the time, in the prime of his life, it was shocking,'' says Danish.

But not as shocking as the double blow his tight knit family from Roxbury, New Jersey was about to be hit with. 

“At the very same time, my twin brother, Adnan, was diagnosed with testicular cancer,” he explains. 

“Here we are teenagers, trying to take care of our father and then I too need to be cared for,” says Adnan who, like his father, underwent extensive treatment, including multiple surgeries and rounds of chemotherapy. 

“Shabbar used to bring my homework to the hospital and help me,” says Adnan. “Back then, there were no cell phones, no internet, no laptops.  My brother was my main support system, and he helped me cope with and beat this disease.” 

Sadly, the twins’ father lost his battle shortly after they graduated high school. “He taught us so many life lessons before he left us,” says Adnan. And he definitely influenced their future choice of career, both say. 

“In high school I volunteered with the local ambulance corp but it was more so I could drive fast through traffic than for any other reason,” jokes Shabbar. 

But once in college, the brothers and roommates at Rutgers University, started to think of their family’s ordeal in a different way. “Our father was a research scientist with a global healthcare company and his goal in life was to bring innovation and resources to the underserved and although he never voiced it, we know he hoped we would do the same,” says Adnan.  

Today, Dr. Shabbar Danish and Dr. Adnan Danish are living up to their father’s legacy. Adnan is an attending physician at Hackensack Meridian’s John Theurer Cancer Center and Chief of Radiation Oncology at St. Joseph's Health, in partnership with Hackensack Meridian. Shabbar is Chairman of Neurosurgery at Hackensack Meridian Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Monmouth County. “Thanks to our intimate past with cancer, we now battle it across the state,” says Shabbar. 

As part of Hackensack Meridian Health, New Jersey’s largest hospital organization - the two are living their father’s dream. 

They are also advocates of bringing ground breaking treatment modalities in cancer care to the HMH Network. Adnan is introducing innovative  technology at the John Theurer Cancer Center that will use biology to guide the delivery of radiation therapy, which will then be combined with precision medicine or customized treatments, in order to offer more options to patients that weren’t available before. JTCC will be one of only 7 early adopters of this technology, and will lead the way to develop this new and evolving paradigm in radiation oncology.

Also as Chief of Radiation Oncology at St Joseph’s Health, which is partnering with HMH, Adnan is leading a multimillion dollar expansion in the department that will bring advanced radiation techniques to oncology patients in the community.

Shabbar is excited to introduce a new non-invasive cancer treatment called ZapX, a Vault-free gyroscopic frameless delivery technique for radiosurgery. Using high-definition imaging systems for guidance and computer-controlled robotics, ZAP-X delivers high-dose radiation to brain tumors with a pinpoint accuracy that protects healthy cells and tissue near the treatment site. ZAP-X will be one of only 10 in the U.S. that enables neurosurgeons and radiation oncologists to change precision radiation for the better by streamlining treatment of neurosurgical diseases, including brain tumors. The ZapX represents the next step in evolution for cranial radiosurgery, and will be the most advanced technology of its type in the Northeast.  

“It is our goal in life to care for those who can’t care for themselves, we do this in honor of our father and because of what our father had to endure,” says Adnan who is now himself, the father of three boys. “My brother has two children, a boy and a girl and we never want them or any other child to have to go through what we did.”

“Every day we remember our father,'' says Shabbar. “He is our inspiration to help others beat this disease and we know together, we can do it.”

It’s not just on Father’s Day, but every day that they live to honor his memory.