Iraqis in the western province of Anbar just crossed another heart defect off of their “incurable” list. Our team stood by to support as Dr. Firas and his team corrected a defect that had never been fixed in this region of Iraq.
Little Aya, a 4-year-old with a sweet disposition, was born in Fallujah just a few years after the Iraq War’s deadliest battles. Like so many children in her region, she had a heart defect and no hope for help.
But you’ve already heard that story several times over.
What you may not have heard is that many families in Fallujah have decided to avoid pregnancy because of how many children are now born with birth defects.
Living life with no children—this is no small decision in a progeny-focused culture like Iraq’s. Children are a source of great pride, glory, and honor, and choosing to abstain from child-bearing is a big deal. Some parents I spoke with said they wouldn’t take the risk of having a child unless they knew there were doctors who could provide treatment, and that’s a part of the reason why we’re here.
These surgical missions represent much more than a handful of lifesaving operations—though they’re definitely that. These are about offering solutions and hope to families in need. When mothers and fathers are too afraid to have children because of rampant birth defects and no available treatment, that’s a problem that demands a remedy.
Thankfully, Aya’s heart received a total correction thanks to Dr. Firas and the team, and there are many more still waiting. Hopefully she is the first of many!
August 7, 2012 by matt · Comments Off
For us, Remedy Fellowship represents much more than a program—it’s people. Individuals with interconnected goals and stories will live life together for an entire year.
This is completely different from our short term Remedy Missions because it will provide the kind of day-to-day training necessary to make these surgical centers fully functional and independent. The Fellowship is bringing together some incredible stories, and Dr. Akeel’s story is one of our favorites. For him, pediatric heart surgery is extremely personal. Watch the video to see why.
To learn more about why doctors are living for a year in Iraq, visit our Fellowship page.
February 13, 2012 by matt · Comments Off
“But nothing else makes me feel like this; just the feeling of internal happiness; the feeling of being on the short way to being a cardiac surgeon—even a beginner one—the feeling of being about to reach my dream!”
This came in an email from one of the local surgeons receiving training right now in southern Iraq! This doctor’s excitement is so contagious—he even makes me want to learn more about medicine. Thank you for empowering his compassion for his compatriots!
We are now halfway through our ninth surgical mission in Iraq, and the excitement has yet to die down. The press are swarming our break room even as I write this, and we’re looking into every lens and delivering the same message: there is a Coalition that is committed to eradicating this backlog of children in need of surgery!
Seven days in, and we have already seen ten children receive surgery. Come back tomorrow to meet one of my favorites!