Iraqi boy to have surgery in SF

December 31, 2008 6:09:00 PM PST
A little boy from Iraq got a warm welcome in San Francisco, as he arrived for surgery that will allow him to hear again. He's getting the help at UCSF, thanks to the generosity of a number of people. Little Mustafa Ghazwan arrived in the arms of his father. he smiled and waved at about two dozen well wishers, reporters and photographers behind the security glass. At the baggage claim area, Mustafa charmed everyone. The adoring crowd gave him a welcome any 3-year-old would love ? it came with lots of stuffed animals. But the balloons were his favorite. they brought the biggest smile of all on his tiny face. In June of 2007, Mustafa was playing in his Baquba home during a U.S. airstrike. A missile exploded in a neighboring house. The blast killed three other children. Mustafa lived but he lost his hearing. The child's father Ghazwan Al-Nadawi says he wrote letters pleading for medical help for his son. "He submitted many request to many people in Iraq, but nobody responded but this organization," said Al-Nadawi through an interpreter. Mustafa is one of ten Iraqi children which the group No More Victims has brought to the U.S. for medical treatment. "Basically we want to show the human face of what so many refer to as collateral damage. These are human beings," said No More Victims Founder Cole Miller. The Bay Area based humanitarian organization the Ruth Group sponsored Mustafa and raised money for his care. He will be staying at Ronald McDonald House while he goes through a cochlear implant at UCSF. Doctor Lawrence Lustig is waiving his fee. His colleague Dr. Dan Lowenstein says the implant picks up airwaves and changes them into electronic signals. They then interface with nerve endings from the brain to allow hearing to be restored," said Dr. Lowenstein. merry christmas and a happy new year," said Al-Nadawi. Mustafa's father said he was so happy he could cry. His interpreter told him, go ahead. It's ok -- this is America.