Road to Recovery
As Coalition forces began their offensive against ISIS , we returned to the region to help some of the children in need of medical treatment.
Zainal was just 7 years old when he was kidnapped by ISIS militants in 2014. Later he was moved to Syria where he and other Yazidi, Christian and Shia children were used as human shields. During the battle to retake Baghouz, the last ISIS stronghold, the building where the children slept was hit by a mortar. Zainal was badly injured so they threw him outside and left him to die. He was eventually rescued by the Syrian Defence Forces and taken to a hospital where he was diagnosed with a compound fracture in his thigh. By the time his brother Ahmed found him, the wound was severely infected.
Ahmed brought him to a private hospital in Kurdistan where he remained by his bedside day and night. We managed to get him transferred to the general hospital where they treated the infection and when he returned to the camp, we sent a nurse to clean and dress his wounds each day for several weeks. He needs further surgery to lengthen the bone and he suffers from a recurring infection. He has partial paralysis caused by damage to his brain and he is severely traumatised from his years in captivity. He shares a tent with Ahmed and his wife and their 16 month old baby. Their parents are still missing but their other siblings are on a survivor program in Canada and Zainal and Ahmed are waiting to join them.
Sally visits Zainal at the hospital
BOSTON - Three Iraqi children arrived in Boston to be treated in the US for injuries they suffered in the war-torn country.
They were brought to Boston, by a woman who travels the world and rescues children from violent regions across the globe.
Waiting for them at the airport was the very first child she ever rescued, Maja Kazazic. She was a 16-year-old in Bosnia when she became a victim of the war there.
Dilbreen's family fled from ISIS in August 2014. They took shelter in a refugee camp in Northern Iraq where they were living for nearly three years. On his 1st birthday the heater exploded in the hut where he was sleeping, and he was very badly burned. Dilbreen was left with extensive scarring and he was in need of extensive reconstructive surgery in order to rebuild his face and prevent him from losing his sight. Shriners Hospitals for Children agreed to help and in October 2016 Sally Becker brought our him and two other injured children to the US for treatment. Dilbreen's Mother was told she could not travel because she was 7 months pregnant so Dilbreen was accompanied by his father. When his father returned to Iraq in November to collect his wife and new baby they were told they could not return to the US, leaving Dilbreen to face years of surgery without his Mum and Dad. Finally on 13th February 2017, their visas were approved and the family was reunited a few days later. Dilbreen now attends school in the US and he has learned to speak English. He will need to continue to have treatment for many years with his parents and little brother by his side.
When Ryan (10) and his family escaped from Sinjar, he was hit by a truck and lost his leg. He was brought to Shriners Hospitals for Children in Minnesota where they built him an artificial limb. Rayan returned to Iraq in December able to walk without assistance.
Ayman (13) sustained severe injuries when he stood on a mine near the camp where he lives on Sinjar Mountain. He arrived in the US in October 2016 and had surgery to repair the damage to his legs. He was also fitted with a prosthetic arm. Three months later he returned to his family in Iraq but he is still in a lot of pain and continues to need specialist treatment.
Dhakil (13) was hit by a car causing multiple fractures to his leg. In February 2017 he travelled to the Shriners Hospital for Children in Boston Massachusetts where he had surgery to help repair the bone in his leg.
Dhakil meets Dilbreen at Shriners Hospital for Children