An Afghan toddler arrived in Israel to be treated in the country for a heart defect.
The two-year-old child Yacub was taken to Israel nearly two weeks ago by his father who found the path by a few Facebook friends.
His surgery and the flight tickets for him and his father were funded by the Israeli charity Save a Child’s Heart, which provides free surgeries for children from developing countries, the Times of Israel reported Friday.
The Israeli doctor who performed surgery on him in Holon described the patient’s situation as “half-dead” when he first met him.
Dr Hagi Dekel said that he was “surprised he made it this far… He was dying every day for the past two years.”
After a successful surgery, the doctor said that Yacub will “live like any normal boy.”
According to the report, Yacub’s father was a wheat farmer from Baghlan province, who was unable to afford the surgery he needed.
Yacub was suffering from Tetralogy of Fallot, a disease which usually limits blood flow to the lungs.
He was helped mainly by Farhad Zaheer, an English-speaking teacher who lives in Afghanistan’s eastern Jalalabad city.
The man, who is also a children’s activist, helped another sick Afghan child for treatment in Israel as well.
“He is the rainmaker in this context. The Afghan with no fear who believes in doing the right thing to save a child’s life,” said Simon Fisher, the Israeli charity SACH’s executive director.
He worked directly with the Afghan authorities to help secure travel visas for Yacub and the other child Yehia, according to Fisher.
They were first Afghans to be treated by the charity in Israel, with which Afghanistan has no diplomatic exchanges.
“I would go to hell and back in order to save him,” Yacub’s father said.
Asked if he would tell his son the story of his heart surgery, the father said, “I am going to tell him how he caused me a lot of grief, so he will have to study hard and become a doctor.”
According to Fisher, there are two more Afghan children waiting for treatment in Israel.