MOORESVILLE – Lake Norman-based Solace for the Children hopes to raise $12,000 to bring an Afghan boy injured in war to the U.S. for surgery.
The humanitarian group also wants to arrange his medical care and lodging.
“At Solace for the Children we do all that we can when opportunities to partner with our military arise,” Executive Director Patsy Wilson said. “We understand that while they are serving our country overseas, they become involved within the communities where they are stationed.”
Najibullah, or “Naji,” was 8 years old when he was struck by a flare near his home in Afghanistan in 2011. The flare caused extensive injury to his abdominal wall and small intestines. His hospital course has been long and complicated, requiring multiple procedures at U.S. Forces and Coalition Forces Hospitals to remove damaged intestine and repair his abdominal wall.
By early 2012, he was fairly stable, yet today, Naji’s condition remains very serious.
His injuries are so extensive that he was left with an insufficient amount of bowel for him to maintain nutrition, called “short gut syndrome,” as well as the inability to close his abdominal wall.
In February 2014, he underwent yet another surgery to remove additional diseased bowel, further magnifying his problem.
Naji has insufficient bowel to maintain his nutrition and health. He requires daily treatments of intravenous fluids just to prevent dehydration. And his malnutrition worsens daily.
Naji was recently evaluated by various specialists including a pediatric surgeon, who has recommended a complex bowel lengthening procedure to treat his rare condition.
Successful treatment at an Afghan medical facility is not possible because of a lack of resources and knowledge of medical staff. Such procedures are only performed at special centers with capabilities of performing complex pediatric surgeries.
His caregivers in Afghanistan, of the 8th Forward Surgical Team, US Army, are willing to seek any means necessary to help him receive the treatment he needs.
Despite his condition, he always finds the energy to share hugs and kisses with everyone.
“He has won our hearts,” said Maj. Kevin Clive, a general surgeon with the 8th FST. “We hope to give him the future he deserves.”
Naji loves soccer. His favorite cartoon is “G.I. Joe.” In his short time at US Forces Hospitals, he has learned to speak fluent English.
“It is apparent that Naji has touched the lives of many while being cared for and we want to do all that we can to give him a chance to survive,” Wilson said. “As you might imagine, the 8th FST family is anxious to get him to the U.S. as soon as possible, where he can receive the care he needs and find some relief for his tragic condition.”