Ruth Arrives in America
Three-and-a-half-year-old Fereshteh Rahmani was born in Afghanistan with a large teratoma (a tumorous protrusion of her brain through a huge hole in her skull), a cleft lip and palate, the absence of her right eye, and a deformed orbit and right side of her face. As is far too common with enormously challenged children like her, she was abandoned by her family at an orphanage operated by Japanese missionaries in her home country. Her cleft lip and palate were poorly repaired, and she suffers dangerous sleep apnea because of respiratory obstruction likely caused by that initial surgery.
Yet despite the enormity of her disability, Fereshteh (her name means “Angel” in Arabic) is indeed a remarkably fortunate little girl. Her new foster American father, Brian, became aware of her while serving with the U.S. Marines in Afghanistan. Back home in the U.S., Brian and his wife Carolina hoped to adopt a child who had been rejected by her own society, and Brian remembered the little girl who had captured his heart during his recent tour of duty. With the care and love of Japanese nun Melanie Mujawamariya and the resources of the WorldCF, Fereshteh—who they plan to rename Ruth—has joined her new family in North Carolina, and as soon as she is healthy enough, she will undergo the first of several surgeries that ultimately will help her live a very normal life with her very loving and compassionate new family.
Ruth’s foster father reports that she is settling into her new home well, bonding with her new brother and sister, and already calling her new parents “Pa Pa” and “Ma Ma,” to their delight. She is a curious and connective little girl who loves to play hide and seek and to laugh.
With medical consultation provided by Dr. Salyer and coordination from the WorldCF, Ruth will begin treatment sometime in the coming months under the care of WorldCF medical director Dr. Arun Gosain at Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago, where Dr. Gosain is head of pediatric reconstructive and plastic surgery.
3D Systems has already generously offered to create models of Ruth’s head and skull that will provide her surgeons with virtual pre-operative planning. Drs. Salyer and Derek Bruce—a renowned pediatric neurosurgeon who is also a WorldCF medical director—will advise and consult with Dr. Gosain and his team at Lurie to both plan and perform her several operations.
Ruth’s case is very complex and can only be performed at institutions like Lurie’s where the quality of care is superb. It could not have been successfully performed in Afghanistan. Yet Ruth’s prognosis is very bright, and the WorldCF is gratified to be able to take the lead in ensuring that before long she will become a very normal American girl.
Ruth’s treatment will be enormously expensive, despite the pro bono work of her surgeons and Lurie’s commitment to absorb costs where possible. We ask you to join us in this wonderful effort to bring a stable and loving life to a severely disabled child from one of the world’s most war-torn and desperate places.
We will keep you closely apprised of Ruth’s progress during the coming months, and in the meantime, please give as generously as you can to help us offer life and hope to Ruth and other children like her who will not have productive, fulfilling, or joyful lives unless you directly help us help them. When you aid the world’s neediest children, you help all of humankind, and you give an immensely meaningful gift to yourself as well. Thank you!