8-year-old Hamzah Al-Daeni
Updated: Friday, 06 May 2011, 7:31 AM EDT
Published : Thursday, 05 May 2011, 10:51 AM EDT
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - Hamzah Al-Daeni has seen and lived through more than any 8-year-old should. In May 2008, he was playing in the yard of his family’s home in Iraq when an American missile landed nearby. He lost his leg, and several family members were killed.
“His house is right in the middle, between the American Army and (forces loyal to the opposition,”) said his translator, Shadia Kanaan. “He was almost caught in the crossfire, and so the American missile hit right in front of the house.”
But a local organization, Healing Children of Conflict , is trying to help. And for the first time, they’ve brought a child to the US, to Grand Rapids, for treatment.
“Initially there was one hospital in Iraq and they told him he had no chance of making it,” Kanaan told 24 Hour News 8. “So this is kind of a miracle.”
His father, Imad, was desperate to get help for his son. “(Imad) says the trauma, the experience of what happened to his son was so traumatic, and he was very angry at the American Army,” Kanaan said.
Though not independently confirmed by 24 Hour News 8, Healing Children of Conflict said the shrapnel that injured Hamzah came from a missile only used by US forces in Iraq.
Imad already sold their house and car, among other possessions, to help pay for medical bills. So he turned to the country he blamed for his son’s injuries.
He connected with Healing Children of Conflict, a Grand Rapids-based organization with a mission to help children seriously injured in conflicts involving the United States.
“For him to come here and see this humanitarian effort, it really changed his mind completely,” Kanaan said of Imad. “He’s seeing things from a completely different perspective. He’s actually very grateful for that.”
A welcoming ceremony took place Thursday at the Ronald McDonald House of West Michigan. Hamzah will be in Grand Rapids for several weeks for treatment and to be fitted with a prosthetic leg.