Mohammed – quite possibly one of the cutest kids in southern Iraq – is currently resting after his successful surgery!
On our last day at the hospital we found out that Mohammed has suffered through much more than a failing heart; just before he was born his father left their family, and his mother was left to raise him alone.
That’s a big deal in a region like southern Iraq. It’s not easy for a woman to take on that kind of responsibility alone, which is why I feel such respect for Mohammed’s mother.
Like so many single mothers, she worked hard to raise an amazing kid, and she helped get him to the place where his life could be saved.
So, as we near the end of Remedy Mission VI, we’re celebrating Mohammed’s successful surgery, but we can’t really celebrate his life without acknowledging the hero who has always stood behind him.
We’re excited that Mohammed’s heart is healing, and he can now grow into a man capable of caring for the woman who sacrificed so much for him.
So from Mohammed, his mother, and all of us – thanks for saving his life!
July 8, 2011 by Alex · Comments Off
After nearly two weeks of waiting, Mohammed is now in surgery!
He’s brightened our days here in southern Iraq, and now our Iraqi and international surgical team is working to repair his heart so he can continue brightening days for many years to come!
The doctors fully repaired Noor’s heart!
She’s thriving in the hospital ward right now as she shows us a side of her that we’ve never seen before. The difference between the Noor before the surgery and the Noor now is unmistakable. Before, we could barely get photos of her awake and active, but now we can’t catch her holding still.
Little Noor has left her mark on all of us…including our hospital equipment! We admit that this is NOT how you show the doctors how well you’re breathing after your surgery. But her teethmarks are another good sign that Noor can’t wait to get out of the hospital and back to being a kid!
It’s official. We’re overrun. And it’s all your fault. (But we’re not complaining.)
When we first started doing this back in 2007, we were around a lot of sick children and very few healthy ones. Because Remedy Missions are spreading across Iraq, we’re still coming across more and more sick children in more communities, but thanks to you guys we’re starting to spend a lot more time with children who USED to have heart defects. Last week you helped us provide our 163rd heart surgery. Tomorrow, we’ll give our 175th! See how fast it’s all happening?!
It was easy to reach the point where we felt overwhelmed by the thousands of sick children in Iraq, but I never thought we would reach the point where we became overwhelmed by the healthy ones.
Thanks to you, we have.
This Remedy Mission, I’ve had the chance to catch up with the local doctors and scroll through all the photos of children from the past missions. We talk about how they’re doing and often they just pick up the phone right there and call them. We’re constantly coming up with ways where we can see them all in person again, too. Recently, we found a way to see Ali Raad from our third Remedy Mission and he’s doing GREAT!
When I asked his family about the biggest change since Ali’s surgery, they smiled and threw their hands in the air and said, “He just doesn’t stop playing!”
Ali’s journey isn’t quite over yet though. Like a lot of children born with heart defects, he was born with a cleft pallet as well. It’s a simple fix but because of his heart defect, doctors couldn’t operate on his cleft pallet unless his heart was fixed. Now that his heart is strong, they just have to wait a few more months to fix his cleft pallet!
If you never gave Ali his heart surgery, he would never have been able to get surgery on his cleft pallet and as a result he never would have had the opportunity to go to school or eat the foods he needs to be eating to grow.
But that’s not the case. Your generosity saved his life and put him back on track to enroll in school next year!
July 4, 2011 by Cody · Comments Off
Noor’s wait is over!
She’s made it into the operating room and the doctors are hard at work making sure that they send Noor away with a strong and healthy heart!
If they’re able to accomplish all they hope to accomplish with Noor, it will be the 9th lifesaving heart surgery this trip.
Thanks for making this possible! More news to come…
My friend Mohammed is back!
Mohammed made me feel so welcomed when we first arrived, and I’ve missed him as he’s been out of the hospital these last few days. But now he’s back and brightening everyone’s day with his contagious smile!
Besides seeing my new friend again, something else has me smiling all day: hearing that Mohammed is scheduled for surgery this week!
Each kid we meet here captures our hearts, but there’s something extra special about hearing how the remedy is coming to a little boy or girl you have a personal connection with. I can’t even imagine how special the feeling of hope and excitement must be for each of these kids, their parents, families, friends, and communities all over Iraq.
Thank you for bringing that feeling of hope to Iraq, and to my little friend Mohammed!
He’s one day closer to his remedy. Get ready!
July 1, 2011 by Cody · Comments Off
We all remember our firsts, don’t we? Our first time going to school. Our first time riding a bike. But do you remember what it was like right before those moments?
Whether it was waiting to unwrap your new bike or try on your new shoes for the first day of school, the moments leading up to those firsts are just as memorable.
Imagine what it would be like to be waiting for your remedy, though. Imagine being able to think about all the things that would soon be possible once your heart was made strong…for the very first time!
There’s a lot of that imagining going on here in the hospital. Today, I sat on the bed of Abbas, one of the first children to be saved this Remedy Mission, and I can honestly say that I’ve never heard anyone laugh that hard while in a hospital bed! He kept smiling and kissing my hand and in between smiles and kisses I asked him about the very first thing he was going to do with his new heart once he left the hospital.
Abbas said, “I’m going to run everywhere I go!”
Abbas’s one day closer to being able to run – for the first time!
Right now little Noor is counting down the hours until her heart is the one that’s made strong. I love this picture because it shows three children, with Noor in the middle, all patiently awaiting their firsts.
If you haven’t caught how all of this is possible – it’s because of YOU! It’s because so many of you chose to donate for the first time, become a monthly sponsor for the first time or tell the stories of these children for the first time.
Without those firsts – Noor wouldn’t be awaiting hers.
To keep creating firsts across Iraq, donate today by clicking HERE!
June 29, 2011 by Lydia · Comments Off
June 29, 2011 by Alex · Comments Off
Today, I hesitated outside the entrance of the hospital ward in southern Iraq. Kids spend most of the day waiting for surgery in this room.
Mothers and their children filled the room, and I didn’t want to barge into a room that these families might have thought were off-limits to outsiders.
But as I stood there, recognizing that I was the outsider, looking confused and out-of-place, a 6-year-old boy named Mohammed walked up, smiled, and took my hand as if he knew exactly what I was going through.
He safely escorted me to the back of the room so I could meet the family I had come to see.
Mohammed never left my side, but just kept holding my hand and making me feel more at-ease until he felt that his duty had been completed.
We couldn’t speak to each other and even though we interacted for only a few minutes, I can’t help but to look forward to spending more time with Mohammed.
What makes me more excited is that Mohammed isn’t just here to help out this goofy foreigner; he’s here to have his failing heart restored.
He’s here for the Remedy.
The doctors are still unclear as to how complicated Mohammed’s heart condition is, but they’re beginning the tests that will help them know what needs to be done to reclaim his heart.
In the meantime, we’ll just keep waiting.
Stay tuned for more updates on Mohammed.
While you wait check out Rokya’s Mom documenting her daughter’s Remedy in Iraq on our Facebook page.
June 27, 2011 by Cody · Comments Off
Today was our first day in the hospital, but it felt more like the first day of school. The hallways were filled with families and their children, deliveries were made, rooms were assigned, tours were given, and in the midst of all that we were looking for little four-year-old Noor.
While we were on the hunt for Noor, her family was looking for the lost and found in search of all their belongings that they left behind from the last Remedy Mission.
Noor was scheduled to receive surgery last Remedy, but on the last day her family received news that there wasn’t any more time left to operate on their child. It would have to happen the next mission. Heartbroken that their daughter wouldn’t be given a chance this time around, they held Noor close and returned home – forgetting all of their belongings on the hospital floor.
Today, they returned for all that was theirs to claim: their belongings and a second chance.
Noor’s on the schedule again for what we all hope will be a lifesaving surgery. Until then, we’re enjoying another opportunity to love on Noor!
Join us this week as we follow her second chance.