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Fellowship-Funded Hospital Treats Christian Toddler Who Fled ISIS

Maryam was just a baby when her family had to flee from ISIS terrorists invading their city in northwestern Iraq last summer. This life-threatening situation was an even graver danger for little Maryam, who was born with a heart condition. Thankfully she was eventually able to receive help at Israel’s Hadassah-Ein Kerem Medical Center, which The Fellowship has been supporting for years.Maryam was born with a hole in her heart, a life-threatening condition. Her family had arranged for treatment in Turkey over the summer, but when the family was forced to flee IS, the plans were scuttled.Instead, Lina, Maryam, her husband, and two sons drove away from IS to the Kurdistan Region’s capital Erbil, where tens of thousands of refugees, many of them Christian, were taking shelter. Becoming a refugee overnight is hard enough, but fleeing home while caring for an ailing baby who doesn’t sleep or breathe well brings with it a whole new set of dilemmas.Though they no longer had access to their bank in Qaraqosh and only had whatever money they were able to grab on their way out, the family had no choice but to rent a hotel room in Erbil because of Maryam’s condition. They spent a week waiting for an indication they could return home, but none came.They decided to move to the mixed Kurdish-Christian mountain city of Shaqlawa about 50 kilometers to the north, where prices were much lower than the Christian neighborhood in Erbil. With their dwindling resources, they moved into a house with five other families. They had no jobs, and survived on the kindness of neighbors who supplied them with food, blankets, and clothes.Despite the hardship, Lina and her husband still had to scramble to find a solution for Maryam. None came. The family was supposed to go to Baghdad for tests that would allow them to try Turkish hospitals again, but the journey was too risky, and the trip was canceled.“I was worried,” recalled Lina. “I was so sad. I didn’t know what to do… I couldn’t make a decision.”“I could only pray, and ask God for help.”It seems someone was listening. A friend of her husband had Maryam’s name added to a list of refugee children in need of medical care, and the family received a call just before Christmas instructing them to travel to see a group of American doctors at the heart center in Suleimaniyah.Read the rest of this article to learn how their journey took them to Israel, and to Fellowship-supported Hadassah Medical Center.

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The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ) funds humanitarian aid to the needy in Israel and in Jewish communities around the world, promotes prayer and advocacy on behalf of the Jewish state, and provides resources that help build bridges of understanding between Christians and Jews.

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