Marwan's Heart Surgery


Another Surgery and Some TLC

Posted on Sun, 02/28/2016 - 20:52 by Miriam Svensson

When we arrived to the hospital today we heard that a child from Gaza was to be discharged. Soon we found out that it was Marwan who was going home. He had been admitted for some surgery on his amputated leg, and now this had been done. His prosthesis needs to be adjusted, so he was jumping around without it.

I had not met Marwan before, but found that he was very easy to connect with. He seemed to be in high spirits, smiling all the time. While waiting for us to be ready to go Marwan played with Esraa and our volunteer Valentina. He also borrowed my camera and took pictures of everyone around him.

After lunch we drove Marwan and his grandmother to Erez where we said goodbye to them. Next week he will come back to the hospital for a check-up and to take out the stitches. Thank you for praying with us for this lively little boy! We praise the Lord for His faithfulness to him and his family.

Standing Tall

Posted on Fri, 02/06/2015 - 11:18 by Brian Mace

When I arrived at Gaza’s northern border on the 27th of January, there was little Marwan standing under a shelter waiting for us with his grandma. We took him to Wolfson for physiotherapy on his leg, and he showed his dissatisfaction with the plan for almost the whole journey. However, on arrival, he cheered up and was soon found a bed in the children’s ward.

Whenever I visited Wolfson, which was several times, I popped in to see him and his grandmother, and we soon got to know each other well. His physio must have been very challenging for him, because on two occasions when I visited him, his knee was covered with a thick white salve. On a subsequent visit, I was told that changes would be made to his prosthetic leg.

Mart and I then had the great privilege of returning him from Wolfson hospital to the Erez border crossing. Marwan was walking so well with his prosthetic leg, that it was difficult to notice he had one; he was walking and running with ease! He was pleased to be strapped in his child seat and was no trouble at all, enjoying the journey in lovely, summery weather. For me, it was almost sad to say goodbye to him at the border. He is a very special and lovely little boy.

Just as I was leaving Wolfson hospital, I met an Israeli young lady who was serving in the hospital, who described Marwan as “adorable but naughty” which is extremely accurate; he is so adorable that his naughty side is very quickly forgotten. He is a lovely boy, I shall miss visiting him very much.

Marwan Learns to Walk

Posted on Wed, 01/14/2015 - 20:03 by Ruth Zellweger

Little Marwan has never lived a 'normal' life. Born and raised in the Gaza Strip, he has already experienced war and political instability unlike most will ever experience. Not to mention physically he is different from most children his age, because he is missing his left foot due to complications after open-heart surgery at the age of only one month. Nevertheless, when you get a chance to meet him, you witness a joyful young boy who loves to hop around on his one leg; is he ever is fast!

 photo MarwanLearnstoWalk-smile_zps2d575e58.jpg

He never learned to walk properly because of his missing foot. Our volunteers get to see Marwan regularly during his check-ups at Wolfson Medical Center, and he does not give us the impression that he wants to be pitied.

 photo MarwanLearnstoWalk-anxious_zpscde444dd.jpg

This past week marked a big change in his life, as he was to receive the first lower-leg prosthesis of his life, that will help him learn to walk properly. On Wednesday, I had the privilege to accompany him and his grandmother to the orthopaedic center where the prosthesis was constructed. Yaron, who had already started with the preparations of the prosthesis, was waiting for us at the center. However, he needed exact measurements and began right away with collecting all the necessary details. Marwan was very alert and followed the instructions of Yaron diligently.

 photo MarwanLearnstoWalk-firststeps_zps64a22610.jpg

Later, with two and a half hours of free time on our hands, we had lunch and visit my little Kurdish friend Arena at Sheba Hospital, which was just around the corner of the orthopaedic center. Marwan enjoyed the playground area there very much, and people could not help but smile when they saw him enthusiastically hopping around on his one leg, trying out all the different toys. We then returned to the center Yaron began teaching Marwan's grandmother how to put on the prosthesis properly. She was a quick learner! I watched Marwan's face and he was so excited and could not wait to try it out. Encouraged by his grandmother, Marwan did his first steps clasping Yaron's hand.

 photo MarwanLearnstoWalk-secondsteps_zpsfe951b89.jpg

We left the orthopaedic center, Marwan carrying his new prosthesis in his arms. He had almost refused to take it off, but it was advised that he would not overdo it in the beginning. The next day Marilyn and I took Marwan and his grandmother back to the Gaza border. Again, Marwan was carefully watching the bag with his new foot.

 photo MarwanLearnstoWalk-atborder_zpse1333a50.jpg

I will not soon forget his excitement over that prosthesis; one might think that he should be rather sad that he cannot walk just as most other people, but the opposite is true. Marwan might not look like everyone else, but that does not determine who he is and what he can achieve. He is only five years old, but the two days I got to spend with him I learned a lot about appreciating life and to not letting circumstances control my joy.


Marwan and Friends

Posted on Wed, 11/20/2013 - 19:44 by Philip Rasmussen
We got news this morning that our little brother from Gaza, Marwan, was making his way through the Gaza border to Israel to go for a heart procedure at the Wolfson Medical Center. A small crew immediately went down to the Erez border and arrived just in time to receive Marwan and his mother passing through the last security gate. Marwan recognized us with a little smile, and we soon got on the road. Our little friend was restless and unsatisfied from the very beginning of the ride by being held back by a seat-belt. Suddenly the noise of wrestling the seat-belt stopped, and we realized that he had puked all over himself. After cleaning up and continuing our trip to the hospital, we soon found Marwan sleeping quietly – even wearing his seat-belt.
After a rather dramatic ride, we arrived at Wolfson and coincidentally met a little boy and his mother from Tanzania that some of us have come to know through our regular visits to the hospital. Reflecting again over this encounter, it seemed to have a more divine coordination. Both the Tanzanian boy and Marwan have undergone heart surgery and now in need of a prosthetic device. They also happen to be around the same age. I could keep on drawing similarities between these two young fighters who both have left their home and come to Israel in hope of a brighter future.
It was truly special to witness the mothers’ deep sympathy for each other though not many words were spoken; it seemed somehow to be completely unnecessary as they simply shared in their association and compassion for each other.
I think a good friendship started from this very day between the two boys. What an incarnation of ‘Shevet Achim’ – at one hand they have nothing in common at first glance, but on the other hand they have everything in common. It was such a blessing to see these two brothers taking hands smiling so cheerfully considering their outer vulnerability.
We later went to the ward to admit Marwan so that he could be ready for his scheduled CT-scan tomorrow. It is assumed that Marwan has a closed vain around his heart, and the CT-scan will reveal if it will be possible to open up the vain with a catheterization. Please pray that this scan will bring helpful results.
We are also hoping to take Marwan to a specialized hospital for a foot replacement in the near future. So far more than $2000 have been donated toward this cause! I told Marwan’s mother how different people around the world generously have been donating money to help her son get walking. I promised her to let everyone know that she is very grateful for the help and love that has been shown towards her son. It is a big wish for her to one day see Marwan walk around just like any other child. Lord willing this wish will come true one day. Thanks so much for your contributions in prayer and support for young Marwan.

Marwan Returns from Gaza, No Longer a Baby

Posted on Tue, 09/24/2013 - 03:00 by Philip Rasmussen

Allow yourself to put aside two minutes and scroll down to the bottom of this blog to (re)follow how God’s healing hand held little Marwan while recovering from his emergency heart surgery when he was only a few weeks old! 

As you read your way through you will discover that Marwan had his left foot removed due to a lack of blood flow following his operation. Today was the day when we took him to a specialized rehabilitation hospital, Alyn, in the outskirts of Jerusalem, to see what options are available for Marwan to get going. Having read the old updates I was excited to get to see how Marwan looked and learn about his health condition three and a half year after his heart surgery.

He has surely grown into a smart little boy with his own unique character. His big brown eyes and curiosity radiate a self-confidence which is so pleasant to see considering his handicap and how vulnerable he looked in the pictures from earlier reports. Only his need to have his mother carry him around tells the difference between him and other kids at his age. His mother reports that Marwan of course is not able to participate in games on an equal footing with other boys, but that his seven siblings - number eight on the way - are good caretakers. Marwan doesn’t struggle with any serious heart issues now - thanks to his successful operation – but will still have to come in for follow-ups and probably also go through a catheterization in the future. 

We entered the prosthetic specialist’s room right away and he examined Marwan’s leg and made some observations. He was happy to see how much Marwan is able to use his leg as he was crawling and climbing around. The specialist sounded very confident that the replacement Marwan is likely to receive will be very successful. He even said that it was easy! What great news for the mother to hear - words of hope and help for her dear son. Marwan will potentially have his fitting in another hospital, but will after a hopefully successful replacement spend some weeks at Alyn and go through one of their pediatric rehabilitation programs. He will probably need to come back every year to receive a new artificial foot replacement as he gets bigger and bigger for every year. 

Early afternoon we headed back towards the Erez border crossing to Gaza, where we again were reminded of Marwan’s energy and strength in spite of his handicap. He jumped and wrestled for his life on the backseat of our car fighting to avoid the safety belt. Later he fell asleep exhausted after the lost battle. It was a beautiful day where we were reminded of the unique value of an individual – a beloved child of God who therefore deserves all our attention and insufficient attempts to reflect the Fathers love and care. 

Spared For a Reason

Posted on Mon, 02/01/2010 - 00:00 by Donna_West
I have followed Marwan's story from just a few days after his birth when his life was in the hands of God. His young mother left me speechless yesterday as I watched her sitting alone by an empty crib. I went to her and asked, "WHERE is Marwan???" When she told me he was in surgery to have his foot removed, it wasn't the language barrier that made me speechless. I don't know what to say to ANY mother in that situation except, "I am so sorry."

Today I expected to visit Marwan in ICU but to my great surprise, his mother was holding him and mingling with the Iraqi mothers in the waiting room. What a beautiful little boy he is becoming. Our new coworker Vincent was able to translate to this mother my special interest for Marwan's life and the prayers that have been offered before the throne of God for him. After our conversation she allowed me to hold him. I am thankful for the wonderful opportunity to pray for a special blessing on Marwan for his entire life. The sleeping baby opened his big brown eyes as I prayed for him. I asked Jesus to anoint his eyes to see Him and his ears to hear God speak to him. As I touched his mouth I prayed that Marwan would speak the words of the Lord with love and truth to the people of his nation. I asked that God would create in him a heart to serve Him all the days of his life and that his hands would always be busy with the work of the Lord. As I prayed he looked into my eyes and gasped several times as though he was breathing in life and knowing his life had been chosen to be spared for a reason.

I prayed that Marwan would be known throughout the land by the mark left at the end of his leg where God literally snatched him from the clutches of death. We are grateful for the gift of Marwan's life and for answered prayer.

Marwan Out of Intensive Care

Posted on Thu, 01/14/2010 - 00:00 by Donna_West

What a delight to see Marwan in his mother's arms for the first time today (click the play arrow above to see the view from over her shoulder), out of the ICU and in the regular children's ward. With only the little nose tube delivering oxygen to him now, his progress is evident.

His mother understands the situation with his foot is not good and that people all over the world have been praying for her son. 

Please continue to pray for Marwan. This baby has been in a struggle for his life from birth; now that his life has been saved, his future has not yet been determined.

We are still seeking God's mercy for this little one. Please join us with your prayers.

The Dilemma Facing Marwan and His Doctors

Posted on Thu, 12/31/2009 - 00:00 by Jonathan Miles

The seriousness of the need for prayer for Marwan was underscored today when we saw his left foot ourselves in the ICU. Doctors tell us they believe it will have to be removed due to the lack of blood flow, but they are waiting until the last possible moment before making such a fateful decision. This is our opportunity to intercede for Marwan and his future.

A Smile From Marwan

Posted on Tue, 12/29/2009 - 00:00 by Jonathan Miles
After hearing all kinds of dire reports about Marwan's progress, I finally went to see him myself in the ICU today, and found him slightly smiling, as if to say "the reports of my demise are greatly exaggerated."

By his bedside I found the ICU director Dr. Sion Houri, and asked him for an update on Marwan's condition and how we can be praying for him. Click the play arrow below to listen in:

A blood vessel in Marwan's leg was damaged, cutting off circulation and leaving the foot blackened, but not beyond hope of recovery. (By the way, Dr. Houri is not normally an advocate of prayer, but he allowed that in this case it couldn't hurt.) Let's see what difference our prayers can make on Marwan's behalf!

Eyes Open for Christmas

Posted on Fri, 12/25/2009 - 00:00 by Jonathan Miles

Our coworker Mary found Marwan with his eyes open on the ICU on this Christmas Day; doctors report he is still stable.