CHICAGO—It is a holiday gift that will forever change the life of Merhan Shorab. The 8-year-old is about to undergo surgery at Shriners Hospital for Children.
It is a procedure that should last a few hours. The benefits will last for years.
Merhan does not speak English, but she is smiling today about a smoother future path.
She was born with a congenital hip condition and one of her legs is longer than the other. She is not able to walk for long without enduring a lot of pain.
Today surgeons will adhere a plate to elongate the bone in the affected leg.
Merhan lives in Gaza and no one in that region can perform such a procedure. So the Palestine Children's Relief Fund has brought her to Chicago, placed her with a Chicago host family, and is funding the surgery that will improve and alter Merhan's life.
"She's going to one day be able to walk and participate in activities like other children can -- playing, riding bikes," said Sarah Alreyyes of the Palestine Children's Relief Fund. "I think that's pretty incredible for her and her family."
Herhan's family lives in a refugee camp and her father earns just $1,600 a year. Without charitable help she could have eventually become an invalid. Instead, Merhan will soon be able to walk back into the arms of her parents.