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Climb of Hope

By Susan Schwartz, TMO

The Palestine Children’s Relief Fund (PCRF), the world’s largest children’s charity filling the medical needs of children in the Middle East, will hold its Climb of Hope event this week. A group of dedicated humanitarians will climb Mount Kilimanjaro in the Himalayas. The motto of the climbers is: “Let us replace what they have lost with hope”. Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa.

What makes this event unique is that for the first time in history the group making the ascent will consist of three seriously injured Arab teenagers.They will do this to raise support for and awareness of the needs of children in Palestine and Syria. The PCRF hopes through this to raise one million dollars to allow them to continue their wide spread humanitarian endeavors. There are three sponsorships available: Platinum, Gold, and Climber.

These three brave and dedicated young people have all lost limbs during childhood. They have been brought back to functioning health through the intervention of the Palestine Children’s Relief Fund. In each case the PCRF arranged for treatment abroad in an appropriate medical setting. This was done at no cost to the victim and to his or her family.

These young people will be part of a team led by veteran climber, Suzanne Al Houby. Ms Al Houby is the first Arab and Palestinian woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest and to reach to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro six times. All three have undergone extensive preparation for their climb.

A brief history of the young climbers.

Mutasem  Abu Karsh is a 16 year old 10th grader living in northern Gaza. In 2006 he was injured by an Israeli tank shell and subsequently lost his left leg and several fingers of his left hand. In 2007 he was treated through the PCRF at Shriners Hospital in Los Angeles under the guidance of the Southern California chapter. He then was sent to Dubai for a new leg.

Mohammed Jammous is a 15 year old Syrian refugee living in Irbid, Jordan.He was hit by a tank shell in 2012 and received injuries. His treatment, arranged through the PCRF, necessitated the amputation of his left leg above the knee. He was treated in Houston at the Texas Orthopedic Hospital at no charge to him or to his family.

Yasmeen Al Najjar is 17 years old and lives in the West Bank near the city of Nablus.When she was four years of age, she was hit by a car and lost her right leg above the knee.When she was 9 years of age, the PCRF arranged for her treatment, again free of charge, at the Shriner’s Hospital in Houston. In 2011 with continued help from the PCRF, she was sent to the Ibn Sina Center in Jordan. In 2012 the PCRF arranged for her to go to Jerusalem for a new leg that they fully paid for.

The PCRF was founded in 1991 to provide humanitarian medical relief to sick and injured children in the Middle East. When on site care is not optimum for the child, he or she is sent abroad to receive the needed treatment. This is done at no charge to the child or to the adult that often accompanies him.

Their work includes (but is not limited to) mechanized wheelchairs, fitted to individual needs; a Pediatric Cancer Department in Beit Jala; a Pediatric Cardiac unit; eye glasses for needy children; a summer camp for special needs children, and a Woman’s Empowerment Project.

The PCRF has offices in many locations in Gaza, the West Bank, and Lebanon, and a Global Chapter footprint with volunteers who will see to necessary medical treatment for every child in need.

To find out more about the Climb of Hope or about other work of the PCRFand/or to make a much needed contribution, please access their site at: www.pcrf.net.


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