Center Blog Heart

Masa’s Story

We met Masa early in 2019. When we arrived at her family’s small and crowded apartment, she was asleep on a thin mattress on the floor. Her grandmother whispered “she was awake all night not feeling well” as she ushered us inside and generously offered us Turkish coffee. Masa restlessly dozed nearby as her older brother and grandmother told us the story of how they came to live in Amman, Jordan a few years ago.

Masa on her way to the hospital for the first time

Masa’s family was driven out of their hometown in Syria due to encroaching violence. Neighbors houses were being burned down, and that wasn’t close to the extent of violence they witnessed. They knew that if they did not leave behind their homes, jobs, and everything they had ever known, they would likely not survive. So, with hearts full of sadness, they fled their home and headed toward Jordan. They got stuck for several days with no food and no water in the lawless borderlands between the Syria and Jordan. Finally, they made it to Amman. But there were still so many struggles ahead. Shortly after arriving in Amman, Masa’s father retuned to Syria to bring the rest of their family to Amman, but they have not been able to reach him since the day he left two years ago. After Masa’s father went missing, her family continued to struggle to make ends meet. Due to their refugee status, they are not allowed to work, making it nearly impossible to put food on the table and purchase basic necessities. On top of these struggles, Masa was getting sicker and sicker, and there was no way to pay for medical treatment. Masa was too sick to go to school, and even when she did feel well enough to attend, the school sent her away saying her condition was too much of a liability to have her in class. Hope was far beyond reach, yet Masa and her family bravely kept fighting for it day in and day out. After several years of living in Amman, their family heard about how Morning Star Foundation has partnered with Global Hope Network International(GHNI) in Jordan to help refugee families receive heart surgeries for their children, and a spark of hope was reignited in them.

Masa and her brother at the hospital

That day, we took Masa to the hospital and began the long journey of fighting CHD by her side. Every step of the way, we walked with her and her family and provided transportation, testing, and encouragement throughout the process. Seeing her frightened expressions as we walked her wheelchair through the hallways of the hospital was heartbreaking- she knew the risk of hope. But she boldly chose to take the risk anyway, smiling through the fear, holding our hands, and asking for hugs. Her bravery and sweetness brought smiles to the faces of every doctor and nurse who treated her.

The news soon came that surgery wasn’t going to be needed for Masa right now, but her heart needed medicine and other less invasive forms of treatment. Relief washed over the family- Masa was going to be okay. They finally had answers and treatment. And their hospital bills were paid in full.

Left to right: Our Founder Bill Lewis, Masa, and Jamal Hashweh from GHNI

We got to catch up with Masa and her older brother again in September, and she was like a brand new girl… with the same infectious sweetness, of course! She is now full of energy and joy, and she tells us she is feeling great. Our partner GHNI continues to bring aid to Masa and her family, and she has since started the process of returning to school.

Thank you for helping us bring hope and healing to children like Masa!