Isam’s mother tears up when she talks about the day that she gave birth to her son. For many mothers across the world this is a day that they remember with joy, but for Nour this was one of the hardest moments of her life.
‘It was all so sudden’
Nour and her husband are both Syrian refugees in Lebanon. They have been in Lebanon for the past few years. “Our house was bombed,” Nour explains. “We barely escaped with our lives.” After they lost everything they owned, they moved to a different neighborhood in their city, hoping that they would be safe.
But that neighborhood came under siege, and Nour’s husband was trapped in another district, unable to get home and be reunited with his wife. Nour and her children panicked under the constant stress of bullets and bombs.
“It was so sudden,” Nour explains to us. “We heard a knock at the door one night and my husband had arranged a car for us. We just ran into it without taking anything and we managed to get smuggled out of our besieged neighborhood.”
The family were reunited after a few days apart, glad to see that they were all alive. They then made the decision to leave Syria and come to Lebanon as refugees. It wasn’t an easy decision for them to make, but their children had seen so much horror so early on in the war, and they feared for their safety.
A new hope
The family have lived for the past four years in Lebanon. They have moved from place to place in those four years, and struggled financially. Basic things like food are hard to afford for them, but the family currently lives in an area where they are happier. “We have very kind neighbors,” Isam’s father explains. “We feel like brothers. They called us on the way to our hospital appointment to check on Isam.”
The family felt blessed when Nour found out that she was pregnant. Now that they finally felt settled somewhere, they felt that they could bring up a child in a happy and safe environment.
But as Nour went into labor, doctors informed her that her baby would be born with many difficulties. For Nour, it felt like the whole world caved in on her. “I’m still trying to cope,” she tells us.
Doctors had to perform a C-section, and Nour’s baby started his life fighting to survive. Not only was he born with unilateral clubfoot, but he was also born with problems with his digestive track.
‘I felt hopeless’
Nour didn’t know who to turn to for help for Isam. “I felt hopeless about finding a treatment for his problems in Lebanon,” she told us. The family were even contemplating risking their lives and returning back to Syria in the hope of finding treatment for him. Treatment for children with clubfoot is often free and sometimes performed at reduced rates in Syria.
The family spoke with Doctors Without Borders who are now helping the child with his digestive problems. They also recommended that the family come to a screening session that they were working on in partnership with INARA. It was at this screening that we first met with the family, and suggested that we may be able to help Isam.
Following this meeting, we brought Isam in to the American University of Beirut Medical Center (AUBMC) where Dr Taha informed us that his clubfoot was reversible should he undergo medical treatment. INARA will be paying for a number of casting sessions over the coming months, along with special shoes that will ensure his clubfoot is corrected. There is also a potential that Isam may need a further surgery – but the doctors will need to monitor his progress over the coming months before they will know if he needs this.
Thanks to your donations, Isam will get the treatment he needs here in Lebanon. The family do not have to worry about their safety by going back to Syria, when the country is still a warzone. And Isam’s parents feel a huge sense of relief that their little boy will very soon have his problems fixed, and will be able to lead a happy life.
Isam's treatment was funded by UNICEF.