Kalamazoo Family Hopes To Stay in U.S. to Save Young Daughter
While it is a personal belief of mine that the United States is in dire need of a health care overhaul, there's no denying the fact that, medically, our technology and resources exceed a few other countries.
That being said, there's a family in Kalamazoo that's trying to find a way to stay in our country to save their daughter who is battling a rare disease.
Allow me to introduce Lumar Jalil, a 10 year old girl who has Morquio Syndrome, as reported by WWMT News Channel 3. Morquio Syndrome is described as
An inherited birth defect that progresses over time and restricts the body from producing a certain enzyme which causes skeletal abnormalities.
You can read more about Morquio Syndrome here.
Living in the United States, Lumar has been able to receive treatments that will extend her life. The average survival rate for someone with Morquio Syndrome is about 10-20 years.
Here, Lumar undergoes a weekly enzyme infusion, which takes 6 hours. As well, she has a breathing machine that must be able to be accessed 24/7. Both of which would be either limited or completely unavailable should they return to Iraq.
Why are they being forced to go back to Iraq?
I am no expert on immigration or visas however, it sounds like Lumar's father was given a sort of grant from the Iraqi government that pays for the citizen's education and expenses while in the U.S. as long as they return to serve the Iraqi government when they're done. In total, it's worth about $300,000 in Lumar's father's case.
Lumar's father, who remained nameless on purpose, says that they must return to Iraq at the end of May and must also repay that $300,000. I'm not sure of the circumstances or why he must pay it back. Regardless, moving back to Iraq will severely limit Lumar's access to treatments that are maintaining and extending her life.
What can we do to help?
This is always my first question when I see stories of this nature. Unfortunately, the answer is: not a lot. What we can do is share her story, spread the word, make it hard to ignore. We can also contact U.S. Senators, members of Michigan government, and the like and plead the Jalil Family's case.
Members of WWMT News Channel 3 said they had, in fact, reached out to a few U.S. Senators but had not heard back. But, what's that saying about the squeaky wheel? If enough of us are loud about it, maybe U.S. Senators will listen.
On the national level, it may take some research to find the right person to talk to. However, right here in Michigan you can contact Rep. Debbie Stabenow and Rep. Gary Peters here.