Parwa's Heart Surgery

northern Iraq

Finding The Friend Who Found Me

Posted on Wed, 07/18/2012 - 21:29 by Ryan Gregg

Of all the children we could see in Iraq this week, there was one that I requested: Parwa.

Two and a half years ago, when I arrived in Israel as a foreign exchange student, I was a hurting person. Lonely. Confused. Angry. Disaffected. Fresh off breaking my neck and neurosurgery, when I heard about Shevet Achim, I felt an immediate sympathy for the heart patients. Plus, ever since I was one, children have brought me joy.

So I showed up at 29 Prophets Street one day, and here was this girl, Parwa, age six, from northern Iraq. Precocious, sensitive, playful, artistic, and adorable: big brown eyes, a beauty mark on her right cheek, and a smile full of baby teeth. Over the course of the semester, between classes, research papers, and field studies, the time I spent with this little girl reinvented for me the possibility of

A Bittersweet Farewell

Posted on Fri, 04/16/2010 - 01:00 by Jonathan Miles

Our farewell to Parwa began Thursday afternoon as Mary presented her with a beautiful handmade quilt from the Bartow First Baptist Church in the US. Then we all gathered in the courtyard, and I was surprised by the tears from both my coworkers and the traveling moms when it came time to say goodbye. See how they loved each other!

We reached Amman about midnight Thursday, where my wife Michelle and I were blessed to host Parwa, Deeman, and Abubakr and their moms for the night before turning them over to Dirk and Manuela for more hospitality before the families flew out Saturday. 

Thank you all for your support and your prayers, which have been so richly answered in the lives of these beautiful children.

A Good Future

Posted on Mon, 04/12/2010 - 01:00 by Donna_West

Sweet Parwa is seldom seem without her beautiful smile and animated curiosity. She is polite, asks for what she wants and waits her turn. In some ways she may appear not to share the same pain the other children share because her surgical procedure didn't leave a scar on the outside. No stitches to be removed today on her last day at the hospital, and no medicine to take. She is free and clear to go home! We are so grateful for the successful repair of the small hole in Parwa's heart. Without this repair, future stresses on her body (such as pregnancy, once she was ready to start her own family) may have made a life- threatening situation for her. It would have always been an area of potential weakness, waiting for disaster without warning. It was quite a sacrifice for Parwa's mother to be away from her other children during this time. It was a price she willingly paid for the good future God wants for His children.

I sincerely pray and ask you to join me in seeking the Father's grace and mercy, to look into Parwa's heart and fill it full of any good thing she may lack to be a healthy and truly happy person. May God put examples in her life of what it means to have an open heart toward others and teach her the importance of never closing your heart to other's needs.

Parwa is Back From the Hospital

Posted on Thu, 04/08/2010 - 01:00 by Larry_Krieg

Today was my first full day at Shevet Achim, and what a pleasure it was to go down from Jerusalem to Wolfson Hospital in Tel Aviv and bring back charming little Parwa and her mother. They were waiting eagerly for us in the entry hall when we walked in. They would have come right out to the car, but a check for necessary paperwork gave Parwa a chance to give a new friend a goodbye hug.

Once in the car, she was eager to hop up and see where we were going, but we had to fasten her seatbelt, which she took with good grace. Parwa's mother was asking when they could go home to Iraq, and of course that will have to wait for the doctors' final OK.

Parwa was happy for the hour or so it took to get back, looking at a picture book, playing with roses purloined from the hospital flower beds. She bounced her balloon around the back seat until it popped, but she took even that with a smile, and showed us what was left.

There was a very happy reunion with her friends in Jerusalem, and everyone is glad to have this little lady back. Please pray with us that Parwa and her mother will get the final OK to return home soon!


Hole in Heart Closed by Catheterization

Posted on Wed, 04/07/2010 - 07:50 by Donna_West
This morning Parwa remained playful and smiling as several of the doctors came and introduced themselves to her and her mother. A little before 10 AM Dr. Simon returned to Parwa's bedside and picked her up to carry her to the cath lab. As he bent down and motioned to her mother to give her only daughter a kiss, another doctor entered and each one took a hand and led her into the next room for the procedure. As she looked back and smiled at her mother, that image melted her mother's heart over and over for the next hour and half. Parwa's mother allowed Matt and I to pray for her and for her daughter as she tried to regain her composure. 
In past days as Parwa has joyfully played and smiled, the cries of the children back home in Iraq without their mother have weighed heavy on her mother's heart. But today was a day for more concern for Parwa than the family back in Iraq surviving without a mother there to care for them. Several times throughout the procedure we were updated with the calming words of reassurance from part of the medical team that all was going well and the young patient was just fine. Upon returning to her room, Parwa was quick to regain consciousness and awareness of a swollen throat from the breathing tube and pain in her leg at the entry site of the catheter. As soon as I notified the nurses of Parwa's pain they were quick to comfort her. As the last of the lunch trays were being gathered, we left Parwa resting comfortably with her mother needing some rest for herself. To our joy and relief Parwa's doctors told us that they had successfully closed the hole in Parwa's heart.

Please continue to pray for Parwa's continued recovery, as well as this entire family. There are many needs within this household in each family member's life. Our heavenly Father knows best how to meet each of these needs as the two ladies of the house return and continue to wait for the soon arrival of a new baby brother or sister for Parwa.

A Cute and Fun Little Lady

Posted on Mon, 03/01/2010 - 00:00 by Donna_West
Parwa and her mother accompanied us to Wolfson Medical Center today, enjoying all the festivities of Purim. Parwa enjoyed playing with the balloons and Bahzad while he awaited his second echo appointment since his surgery. We needed to complete the PPD test (in the US we call it a Tuberculin test) so it was a very simple procedure for Parwa that she met with bravery. The PPD test gave this young lady an opportunity to tease her mother. Parwa's mother had a look of surprise on her face when she realized she was also going to be tested. Parwa rubbed her eyes as if she were crying and pointed at her mother as if to say, "So, are you going to cry?" What a cute and fun little lady! 
Please pray that Parwa will receive her invitation for her catheterization soon. As much as we enjoy this little girl being with us, we know their family in Iraq misses them greatly. We trust the Lord this will be a successful procedure with no complications and He will give her a complete and speedy recovery.

Parwa Can Be Treated Without Surgery

Posted on Mon, 02/22/2010 - 00:00 by Donna_West
Today's echo revealed this delightful young lady has only a very small hole in her heart. While waiting for the echo to begin we were trying to relieve her mother's concerns with a "don't worry, be happy" attitude. I encouraged Parwa's mother to have a seat on a stool that had wheels on it. As it began to roll the look of surprise on her mother's face sent Parwa into a laugh that had her wiping tears from her eyes as she laughed and laughed. My lame attempt to convey, "don't worry, be happy" was demonstrated in the best possible way. When Dr. Alona said no surgery would be required to fix this very small hole, joy filled the room once more. We now just wait for an opening in the schedule for Parwa's catheterization.

Parwa Is Brave During First Hospital Visit

Posted on Wed, 02/17/2010 - 00:00 by Donna_West

Sweet, quiet, studious, cooperative and lovely six-year-old Parwa started her admission process at Wolfson Medical Center today. She was as quiet and reserved as her friend, Abubakr, was rambunctious and vocal. But Parwa set the example of a no-tears blood test for her friend. Bravery and cooperation was the theme of the day. On Monday echo doctors will determine whether they can close the hole in her heart through catheterization or if they feel surgery will be necessary. Please ask the "Greatest Physician of All" if He might spare this little lady the surgical procedure by His mighty touch.

Parwa Leaps Toward Her Future

Posted on Tue, 02/16/2010 - 00:00 by Jonathan Miles

Six-year-old Parwa peacefully rolled across the Jordan River bridge this afternoon into Israel. Throughout an eight-hour journey she was pleasant and patient, with a sweet smile, surprising me only with the way she first set foot in Israel: 

Tomorrow morning our coworkers will take Parwa to the Wolfson Medical Center for her first exams, in preparation for her life-saving heart treatment. We'll keep this spot updated.