Monday, April 26, 2010

A Mother’s Tale: A Journey from Hope to Destitution

This is Toti, an amazing woman. When her husband was captured and held as a POW in Iran for 7 yrs, Toti took their 5 children, bought a small plot of ground in a tiny village in N Iraq, and built a house by hand! She then supported her family alone by doing house-cleaning - working so hard that she was able to care for her kids & put away some savings. When her son, Soreen, was diagnosed with leukemia and needed a bone marrow transplant, it took all of those savings – plus the savings of all of their relatives in Iraq and a grant from King Abdullah of Jordan to pay for it. Now they are destitute.

Soreen, 31, is currently in Amman with his mother, recovering from pneumonia - they had to leave behind her husband and four other children that still live at home because Soreen's doctors in Iraq told him that they do not have the capability in Iraq's nearly incapacitated medical care system to adequately take care of him. He is a high risk patient.

                                                                                                                                                             They had been relying on Soreen's father sending money here to support them from his $250 bi-monthly military pension (he is disabled after his 7 years as a POW in Iran) and extended family -- but now they are all tapped out. When Soreen came down with pneumonia there was no choice but to hospitalize him. We got a message from another Iraqi (thank you "K"!) telling us of this family's crisis and have been working on finding a solution non-stop since last night. 
Hospitals here often hold patients "hostage" - not allowing them to check out -until they can pay their full bill. And every extra day incurs further expenses!
We contacted the billing dept at the hospital to ask if they would make an exception and allow Soreen to go home and give us time to find a way to pay the bill.  They would not.
We contacted UNHCR and they contacted CARE. This amazing group of people in both offices were able to, on short notice, rush to make a determination that CARE could give nearly $700. 
CRP, because of our frayed shoestring budget and because it is the end of the month when funds are low anyway, was only able to put in $75. 
An amazing group of Soreen's neighbors and friends - all impoverished Iraqi refugees themselves, pooled their money for their rents and other bills and sent the funds off to the hospital to pay Soreen's bill and get him released. How utterly amazing that those with so little gave more than they could, in fact putting themselves at risk to help him!

Soreen is home tonight! We are all grateful and tired but it isn't over yet.
CRP *must* find a way to reimburse the Iraqi families who pitched in to help this young man. We cannot allow their generosity to put them in crisis. So, I am pretty much begging for help to repay them so they can pay their rents and feed their families.
We need to raise close to $600 within the next couple of days.  If you can help with even a small amount, please help.
You can make a tax deductible contribution via credit or debit 
card through our secure donation page:
If you prefer helping by check, you can find our mailing address on the same link -- but please message me to let me know your pledge so we can expect your check.
If you are in Amman and want to help out, please contact me,
YOU in advance!