Team Member: Beth and Gary Bontly
Robert Fritch wrote -
My name is Robert, the sponsor of this page, and I’m grateful you have landed here.
What are we funding?
This is a fund raising event for a Syrian refugee who is desperately trying to put his life back together. His name is Wasim.
Who is Wasim?
- A 31 year old, gentle healer who was 8 months from finishing his medical training when he was forced, under threat of his life, to leave his home and family in Damascus. He has sought refuge in the United States.
- He is not able to obtain a medical license and has worked as a medical assistant, patient tech, telemetry monitor and various other jobs in a local hospital.
- A very hard working man who is trying to turn his upside-down-life, right-side-up.
- One of the kindest, most gentle individuals you will ever meet, who loves to help and serve those in need.
What does Wasim need?
- Wasim does not qualify to practice medicine as a physician in the US, despite his extensive training.
- After exploring many options he will pursue a Nurse Practitioner license.
- In August 2016 Wasim begins a respected program designed for foreign physicians who are unable to obtain a US license (Florida International University in North Miami)
- Without financial assistance he most certainly will not be able complete the program.
How much is needed?
- We desire to raise $18,000 by September 30, 2016 – the first tuition payment.
- Then another $18,000 by January 30, 2017 – the second tuition payment.
- This is a three year training program. He will need to pay tuition every semester and is unable to work while in school.
- Our total goal is $50,000 over the next three years, to pay a good part of his tuition. Even with this he will need to take out loans to complete the training.
What you can do-
- Make a donation here – every bit of which will go toward his tuition.
- Acknowledge we are all refugees in some sense. Choose to help this one.
- Forward this link to your friends. Together we can bring a good ending to a difficulty and tragic story.
- Please, please don’t wait. Donate now.
The Longer Story
This is the true, tragic and yet redeeming story of one Syrian refugee. It is the story of a young man in war torn Damascus, Syria who was just 8 months from completing his Surgical Residency in Otolaryngology (Ear, Nose, and Throat). It is the story of a man whose life was turned upside down in a matter of hours. And how he is working to put it back together.
Most importantly, this is also a gentle and strong request for your help to assist this man as he moves forward to repair his life.
As a Christian physician working in a Muslim military hospital with ISIS threats, Wasim found himself increasingly under surveillance, and military pressure. Life for a surgeon in the midst of war is not easy. It was doubly difficult for him considering his faith and willingness to speak against tyranny. He received increasingly serious threat and was confronted in and outside of the hospital for providing care for the opposition. He watched as the patients on whom he had done surgery and helped heal were shot and tortured to death in their hospital beds. Fighting disease and attending to individual needs without prejudice brought increased risk and scrutiny.
And amazingly, it was a GI virus that saved his life.
Home one day with an intestinal illness that prevented him from being at work, he learned of a car explosion. It was the car he rode to work in every day. And in the car was a dear physician friend with whom he traveled daily. His friend did not survive. It was clear the targeted attack was also intended for him. Wasim knew that if he returned to the hospital he also be killed.
What would you do? How would you deal with this?
Wasim’s parents sold the family car, purchased an airline ticket, and sent their son to America as a political refugee. To this day they remain in Damascus and have lived most of the past 3 years in their church because it is unsafe to be in their home.
Wasim has had a difficult three (3) year journey with many ups and downs. It takes time and lots of effort to heal from such a trauma. He came to New Mexico, applied for political asylum, obtained a work permit, fell in love and married a lovely woman who is a student of Occupational Therapy. She will join him mid-fall in Miami after she completes her training.
From a time when there seemed to be no tomorrow, Wasim now begins the path to resume the work he loves - patient care. For several reasons Wasim is unable to pursue his previous medical specialty in ENT surgery here in the US and has chosen to complete a program specifically designed for foreign physicians. He begins these new studies at Florida International University in mid-August 2016. At the end of 3 years he will emerge as a licensed Nurse Practitioner able to practice independently.
Why are we raising money?
Simply put, Wasim does not have the resources to pay for school. It is not possible to work while in this training program. His wife of just 3 months is herself a student and completing her training with $51,000 of student loan debt. Wasim’s student loans are tenuous and insufficient. He probably will not be able to borrow sufficient funds to complete the training. And we do not want him to being life here in America with an extraordinarily high and debilitating loan.