It was July 13th, 2010 when we first heart about Living Light International - an organization founded by Nadwa Qaragholi as a tribute to her father to serve orphans and widows throughout Iraq.
At that time they were putting together a scouting trip to Baghdad and Basra in search of surgery centers to host surgical missions similar to the Remedy Mission we are entrenched in this week.
In fact, their time in Nasiriyah (near Basra) had local doctors begging our partners at the International Children's Heart foundation to stay a few days and operate on children before all was too late for four kids in particular. Unfortunately, Dr. Novick could not perform surgery; he had no team and he had a plane to catch.
Mrs. Nadwa Qaragholi (center) sits with Sheikh Awad al-Galiby and his grandson who has just undergone a lifesaving heart surgery. Photos by Heber Vega
That's when Nadwa Qaragholi got on the phone and asked the Vice President of Iraq to do something for these children.
The effort made in those days and the days that followed ultimately landed Ahmed, Noor, Hussein, and Raza in our first Remedy Mission this week a few hours drive to the north of Baghdad.
It's safe to say that Living Light International saved these kids' lives.
If they had not organized a scouting trip southern Iraq, if they were not an upstanding family in the community with the ability to call up the Vice President, and if they were not willing to use that influence to the good of a few children in need, there is no way that your donations would have found their way into the hearts of these four dear kids.
Qaragholi's father was orphaned but ultimately worked his way through life until he became a prominent business man in Baghdad. Upon his death, Mrs. Qaragholi founded Living Light International in tribute to him and as a way of focusing her grief in a way that would ultimately benefit others. For years she has been working to benefit orphans and widows throughout the country. But this week, by placing these four kids in Remedy Mission and sitting all day long at their bedside, it seems her ideas for helping kids across Iraq are growing exponentially.
We are currently in the stages of drafting an official memo of understanding with Living Light International in hopes of bringing their local influence and expertise and our international donor base into confluence for the well-being of children across Iraq; from east to west and north to south without regard to ethnicity or religious creed. We have a lot to learn from Living Light International. And more than that, we have a lot of kids to serve together!
Remedy Missions are international pediatric heart surgery teams that we bring to Iraq to to perform lifesaving heart surgeries and develop the infrastructure for the future. If you're on Twitter this week be sure to use the #Remedy or #RemedyMission hashtag to describe all the good news coming out of Iraq this week via @preemptivelove and @babyheart_org. If you're on Facebook, "Share" this story with the button below.