Younis's Heart Surgery


A Free Spirit Heads Home

Posted on Wed, 06/19/2013 - 21:36 by Kelsey Cannon

Younis left this morning to begin his journey home, and I don’t know what else to say except that I’m really going to miss him. I’m going to miss sitting next to him at lunchtime, watching him try to spoon rice into his mouth while actually spilling a healthy 85-90% of it all over his shorts and the floor. I’m going to miss how he would always, without fail, dramatically point at my feet and exclaim in rapid, indecipherable Kurdish to anyone who would listen that I wasn’t wearing shoes. And then repeat this process even louder when I was wearing them. But most of all, I’m going to miss his perpetual smile, endearing hugs, open mouth breathing and (playful?) attempts to kick my head whenever I sat down near him. I’ve never had a little brother, but if I did, I’d want him to be just like Younis. I, along with everyone in our community, loved him. His open and quirky spirit made this easy.

And I like to think he loved us too - though I have a slight suspicion that none here could stake as much claim on his affections as our house dog, Shevey. Like most amusing relationships, Younis’ dynamic with Shevey contained a healthy amount of fear. He would constantly call for and ask questions about Shevey with an absurdly excited look on his face. Then whenever she was around to heed his call, he would 1) run 2) squeal and 3) chant her name while keeping a buffer of at least one to two meters between him and this obviously terrifying Doxador. What can we say? Younis was just a man’s man.

We were able to celebrate all of these memories of Younis as well as God’s faithfulness to heal him during our farewell party last night. Below are some snapshots of the festivities:

This morning, we sent him off from Jerusalem with tears in our eyes and thankfulness in our hearts. We are ultimately grateful for the privilege of getting to know both him and his mother, and being able to bear witness to the healing which has taken place in Younis’ young life. 

May Younis continue to grow and develop into an amazingly unique and beautiful individual equipped with humor and the new gift of health. We’ll miss you.

A Happy Ending

Posted on Tue, 06/18/2013 - 00:45 by Daniella Ashley

Today was a day of celebration for all of us at Shevet, as it was the final hospital visit for Younis. As usual, Younis was in a spunky mood and entertained all of us while we waited for his echo appointment. He had a roll of Mentos and decided to share them with the group. He would take each individual candy from the wrapper and, with a big smile, place them in our mouths. Younis is truly unique in the way he willingly and joyfully shares with others.

The echo did not take long, and the results were positive. Younis was pretty patient with the exam; according to the doctor, he did a lot better than he had previously. I could tell that the medical staff enjoyed getting to know Younis, and appreciated his company.

Younis is now free to go home with his mother back to Kurdistan, where his family is waiting. I could sense the relief that his mother had after our visit today. Today was a great day to experience with Younis and his mom, and I am glad I was there to see the happy ending.

A Great Imagination

Posted on Mon, 06/10/2013 - 21:41 by Philip Rasmussen

About one and a half weeks ago, Younis was released from the hospital and returned to us in Jerusalem; since then, he has been a great giver of joy to our Shevet community. He possesses a great imagination, which seems to take him to another world.

Such was the case today when Younis, while waiting for his echo, sat on a small chair and sang the same 7-word song over and over again. It was a full 5 minutes before we made eye contact, and he finally realized I had been starring at him the whole time. Younis suddenly came back to earth and we laughed at the same time.

After we had waited a good while, we realized that the echo appointment would not happen before lunch. Rather than waiting inside, we decided to have picnic in the grass. The Kurdish families shared the traditional cuisine they had prepared, and we enjoyed a moment of rest in the shade.

Once we got back to the echo department Younis was taken in for his exam. You could tell it took a lot of courage on his part just to enter the room. Thankfully, he was immediately given a warm welcome by one of the doctors, who then showed Younis a funny game on his cell phone. Younis had his eyes fixed on the cell phone screen during his entire echo. He didn

Hearts Uplifted

Posted on Mon, 06/03/2013 - 17:58 by Jesse Tilman


Younis Back in Jerusalem

Posted on Thu, 05/30/2013 - 21:55 by Ruth Zellweger

I remember the first week that Younis spent with us in Jerusalem. He was withdrawn, afraid, and started to cry instantly whenever he saw me, mostly because I was the person bringing him awful tasting medicine two times a day. We started becoming friends when I told Younis one morning that I hadn

Lost and Found

Posted on Thu, 05/23/2013 - 20:40 by Kelsey Cannon

It dawned on me today on the way over to Wolfson Hospital just how long it has been since I

Expressing Care Without Words

Posted on Wed, 05/22/2013 - 21:46 by Marilyn Isaacson

Ruth, Philip, and I went to Wolfson Hospital today, as it was time for Younis

Younis' Admittance Antics

Posted on Tue, 05/21/2013 - 21:57 by Jesse Tilman

Younis was showcasing his outspoken nature today before heading to the hospital for surgical admittance. We had some delays getting out of the parking lot, so he and Jared waited just outside on the sidewalk. Younis would yell at the passing cars saying,

Coming Out of His Shell

Posted on Mon, 05/13/2013 - 20:49 by Ruth Zellweger

By the time I am writing this, Younis will be in our upstairs apartment after a long first day at Wolfson hospital. He and his mother arrived late last evening. They only had a few hours to sleep and settle in before we went to the hospital for his initial assessments.

My impression of Younis is that he is a shy and reserved young boy at first; but once he feels comfortable he talks, plays, and enjoys life in general. At the hospital he waited patiently for an hour until we were called to the nurses station where they started the assessments. Two nurses in training took his vital signs, a urine sample, and wrote an EKG. During the blood test Younis cried a little, but was comforted by his mother who sat nearby. With the completed blood test the most painful part of the assessment was over. We then headed to the echo department, where the cardiologists carefully performed an echo of his heart. After they had gathered all the information they needed for his surgery, Younis received an x-ray of his lungs.

By the time we headed back to the ward it was already 4 pm and Younis was a little fussy. It had been a long day at the hospital and at the age of only 5 years Younis had handled it really well. I am glad that he and his mother will be able to rest for the next few days. We are waiting now for a surgery date, and in the meantime I am looking forward to getting to know Younis and his mother.