14-year old Walid has nightmares almost every single night since the day he was caught in an airstrike in Syria. On that terrible night three years ago he lost his older brother and was badly injured. Now every memory he has of Syria is tainted by this horrible tragedy. “He won’t talk about Syria,” his mother tells us.
The site of destruction
Their area in Syria was one that has seen some of the worst damage in terms of both lives lost and physical destruction. His family hoped and prayed that their home would be spared. As the fighting intensified, they slowly realized that it was a matter of when, not if. By this point there was no way that they could get out of their area. They were trapped.
Then the day came that they had dreaded for so long. A rocket landed on their house, killing their one son, and badly injuring their other. Shrapnel from the rocket shot into Walid’s right thigh, badly damaging his leg.
After the rocket landed on their home, it was difficult for them to get Walid to a hospital. They sat in what remained of their home, waiting for the bombardment to finish, mourning their son, fearing that they wouldn’t be able to get Walid to a hospital in time. It was days before they could finally get him to a field hospital nearby.
At the hospital the field doctors explained that Walid’s nerve was completely damaged, and that there was nothing they could do. “They told us that he wouldn’t be able to walk properly again that day,” his mother explains. “But I couldn’t accept that. I had to do something to help him. That’s when I decided to come to Lebanon, hoping that someone here might be able to help my son.”
The phone call
The family crossed the border into Lebanon and found a small apartment in the mountains in Lebanon. They started desperately searching for someone who might able to help Walid. They struggled to find anyone and had almost given up hope, when a number they didn’t know rang them. “I answered it – and it was everything that I dreamt of.”
One of our existing cases, Bassel, was receiving treatment – and his father suggested that our caseworkers give a friend of his friend a call. We did just that – and brought Walid in for a medical assessment with our doctors at the American University of Beirut Medical Center (AUBMC).
After doing an EMG, the doctors found that the injury was, as first thought, nerve damage. The doctor carefully explained to Walid and his family that the surgery won’t restore full functionality to his leg, but will vastly improve it. The family agreed to go ahead with the procedure.
Doctors performed the surgery which involved taking a nerve from Walid’s right foot and connecting it to his right thigh. The surgery was a success and Walid will need a splint for his foot for the next seven months. Shortly after that he will need another surgery to ensure his leg is kept straight.
Hopes for Walid’s future
Walid changed a lot after the accident and was completely traumatized by the death of his brother. He still has nightmares, and often shouts in his sleep. But the family hope that this surgery will help him improve.
“All we want for Walid is for him to continue his education,” his mother tells us proudly. “I can’t decide his future for him. But I want him to be a bright young man who can achieve whatever he puts his mind to.”
You can help children like Walid by donating to INARA today – either as a one-off payment or by setting up a monthly donation. Every single dollar goes a long way to helping children who, at such a young age, have been through so much.
UNICEF contributed to Walid's treatment.