Iraqi girl gets life altering operations

Noor Sabah's trip to America is about to end, and she can finally smile about that.
The two-year-old girl, who was brought to the United States by an American Army Officer that befriended her dad, has undergone a series of surgeries to repair her deformed jaw.
The tot and her mom, Eman Mohammed, 34, are ready to return home and leave behind the Astoria family who have hosted them for the past five months.
Their final farewell will likely be filled with mixed feelings, said Jesse Damsky, the 26-year-old soldier, who was on active duty when he met Sabah's father in Baghdad and now serves in the reserves.
Unless the situation changes drastically in Iraq, the families don't know when they will see each other again.
&#8220You never know. I hope so,” Damsky said.
In the time that they have spent together, Sabah and one of Damsky's two sons - Aydan, 3 - have become playmates.
&#8220The two of them, they are always running around the house together,” Damsky laughed. Even though Sabah speaks Arabic with her mother, she practices her English with her pint-sized pal, her mother said.
Meanwhile, Mohammed and Sabah haven't seen the other half of their family - Mohammed's husband and five-year-old son - since they came to the United States, and the mom has been worried about their safety when they fled to Syria for a short while and then returned to Iraq. Once in Baghdad, the whole family will be reunited.
&#8220Yes, I am very happy,” Mohammed said, during an interview at St. Mary's Healthcare System for Children in Bayside, where a short documentary was filmed about Sabah's story.
Three years ago, Damsky met Sabah's father, a supervisor where Damsky was stationed, and the two became fast friends. Damsky, a Sunni Muslim, speaks the same dialect as Sabah's family.
&#8220Over time I realized that there was something wrong with his daughter,” Damsky said, adding, &#8220he never asked me to help.”
However, Damsky decided to get involved, and got in touch with the Palestinian Children's Relief Fund, an organization that helps children in the Middle East get specialized surgeries not available to them locally.
The group paid for the medical procedures, and private donors, including an Islamic group in Queens, provided much of the rest of the funds.
Sabah underwent two major surgeries at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Manhattan and spent more than two months at St. Mary's in Bayside, where staff members doted on the smiley child, who calls them all &#8220uncle.”
&#8220I remember when she first came. It's incredible,” said Kathy Coleman, a nutritionist at the hospital. &#8220She came a long way.”
Sabah was born with a craniofacial microsomia, which prevented the right side of her face from growing normally.
&#8220When she comes from my country, she couldn't eat, she couldn't breathe, she couldn't sleep for more than an hour at a time,” her mother explained.
To correct the problem, doctors inserted a metal rod in the girl's face to let her jawbone grow, and realigned her mouth. In addition, her tonsils were removed.
&#8220When we come [to the hospital], everyone wants to see Noor, to kiss Noor,” Mohammed said, beaming. &#8220This hospital was very good with me and my daughter.”
Pat Farrell, a nurse in the hospital's Traumatic Brain Injury unit, said, &#8220She's our Barbie doll.” Farrell even bought Sabah a little present to say goodbye - a pink, fur-lined purse - that the girl toted around the lobby room during one of her last visits.
On Sunday, July 29, Sabah and Mohammed were scheduled to leave the United States, but Noor's doctors pushed back the girl's last medical procedure - removing a tracheotomy in her throat - to Monday, July 30. Sabah and Mohammed got the chance to spend an additional weekend with the Damskys.
On Thursday, July 26, Mohammed was already thinking about their last supper of Musguf Semich - roughly translated to grilled fish - that she wanted to make to thank her hosts.
Sabah will likely need additional surgeries once she reaches age nine, but her mother is already thrilled with the results.
&#8220She is good now,” Mohammed said. &#8220There is a lot of change.”

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