Foster Father Of Over 25 Years Devotes His Life To Looking After Terminally-Ill Children
For many people, fostering children is something they would never consider. It's a real shame, because there are thousands of kids out there who just need a loving home.
However, there are some out there who love to foster children. These are the real MVPs.
Something you may not have thought about (I personally didn't) is the terminally-ill children who need fostering. For a variety of reasons, they're left alone with no family support. I can't imagine a worse situation for a little child to be in. Luckily, there are nurses who tend to these children as if they were their own.
One man is currently trying to do his bit to help these young kids. Mohamed Bzeek moved to the United States from Libya as a university student in 1978. He met his late wife, Dawn, through a mutual friend.
Inspired by her grandparents, who looked after children, she had been fostering children before they met. They started fostering children together in 1989. The children that they looked after were often unwell and, in 1991, they sadly suffered their first loss of a child.
The girl was just one-year-old and was born with a spinal disorder after her farm worker mother breathed in toxic pesticides sprayed by crop dusters. She passed away as they were preparing dinner, and they found the loss incredibly hard to accept.
Soon, they had a child of their own. They named him Adam, and he was born with brittle bone disease and dwarfism. From then on, they decided to exclusively foster terminally ill kids.
Adam is now 19, and is aware that the children who come to stay with him and his dad may not survive. He still has his own medical issues, he only weighs around four-and-a-half stone, but he manages to navigate around their home by using a body skateboard that Mohamed made for him out of a miniature ironing board.
Mohamed is fully aware of the issues he faces when fostering terminally-ill children. He told the LA Times: "The key is, you have to love them like your own. I know they are sick. I know they are going to die. I do my best as a human being and leave the rest to God."
Tragically, Dawn became ill. She suffered from seizures and they would leave her weak for days. As a result, in 2013 Dawn and Mohamed's marriage ended. She died a year later.
Mohamed has carried on their tradition of looking after ill children. He has seen 10 of his foster children die so far.
At the moment, he's looking after a six-year-old girl who's blind and deaf, as well as paralysed in her arms and legs. He said: "I know she can't hear, can't see, but I always talk to her. She has feelings. She has a soul. She's a human being."
Credit: PBS News Hour/YouTube
Dr Suzanne Roberts, who oversees her care at Children's Hospital Los Angeles, believes that the unidentified girl would be dead by now if it wasn't for Mohamed.
Apart from Friday prayers at his local mosque (when a nurse looks after the girl) and trips to the hospital, Mohamed stays indoors. The little girl is at a real risk of choking and so has to sleep sitting up. As a result, Mohamed sleeps on a second couch next to her, although he doesn't get much rest. He hasn't taken a day off since 2000.
Roberts said: "When [the girl] is not sick and in a good mood, she'll cry to be held.
"She's not verbal, but she can make her needs known.... Her life is not complete suffering. She has moments where she's enjoying herself and she's pretty content, and it's all because of Mohamed."
Mohamed's story has touched the heart of many, and a GoFundMe page was set up for him and his family a month ago. The goal was to raise $100k (£79,850). At the time of writing, they are closer to $400k (£319,400).
The money raised will go on air conditioning and heating so that the children are comfortable, the ability to hire an additional nurse, Adam's education, a new van and roof repairs.
If this man isn't the LAD of the week, I don't know who is.
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Featured Image Credit: LA Times/YouTube