13-year-old Gaza-native receives surgery in Columbus

By Taylor Barnhill  - bio | email | Twitter

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -  The Columbus community is pulling together this week to help a young boy who's traveled here from halfway around the world for surgery, and they are doing it all at no charge.

At the young age of 13, Abdulrahman Almotawaq has already experienced a lifetime of pain. He sustained a serious head injury during an Israeli assault on his homeland, the Gaza Strip.

He has traveled far from home, but will be taken care of by a host family while he undergoes brain surgery.

His host father, Imad Nasseredein said, "It's an opportunity that came to us, to host a kid, and we took it, and here we are, bringing him to have the surgery."

Dr. Elshihabi, a neurosurgeon at the Columbus Medical Center, operated on Abdul Thursday morning free of charge.

Beth Mancini works with the local Ronald McDonald House and is helping make Abdul's stay in Columbus more comfortable. She told News Leader Nine, "It's a joint effort in our community and it's helping something on a much bigger level. To be remotely part of it, I feel good and it's a good humanitarian effort."

We spoke with the young boy before the surgery where he told us he was really thankful for everyone's generosity, "I'm going to be fine and good and happy."

Nasseredein added, "As much as it means to him, he means a lot to our family. Him being in our family has done great good for our family."

Dr. Elshihabi told News Leader Nine the surgery took a little less then an hour and everything went as planned. Abdul will stay between Columbus and Atlanta with his host family for the next few weeks to be monitored, but should be as good as new after that.

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