Iraqi girl's medical recovery followed closely in the Upstate

06/18/2014 12:00 AM

06/17/2014 7:20 PM

Offers of help for Salee Allawe began coming in almost immediately, surprising local organizers who are working on behalf of the Iraqi girl who recently returned to Greenville for new prosthetic legs at the Shriners Hospital for Children.

“My wife ... and I read the latest article about Salee Allawe in Sunday’s Greenville News,” one resident told them. “We have followed her story for years and are impressed by her spirit and bravery.

“With the worsening situation in Iraq,” he continued, “we want to contribute to a fund to help Salee stay in the U.S. and attend school here. How may we help?”

“Please give me any information you have about helping Salee stay in the U.S. and get an education,” said another. “I may be able to help in some small way.”

“Keep me posted on plans to help this adorable girl and her family,” said a third.

Those offers of help are typical of the messages that have been coming in from Greenville residents who want to make life better for Salee, who lost her legs in a 2006 air strike, according to the group that first brought her to Greenville for medical care in 2007.

“We’re thrilled that people are interested and have that much concern and compassion for this little girl,” said Lisa Hall, one of the people working to help Salee. “Greenville is such a very, very generous community.”

This is Salee’s fourth trip to Greenville for new prosthetics at Shriners, which provides orthopedic care to children regardless of ability to pay. As she gets older, she outgrows the old prosthetics. And the legs she’s had for the past three years have grown too tight.

Now 16, Salee stopped going to school in Iraq after other children and even a teacher made fun of her, her father said.

And as escalating fighting makes already difficult living conditions in Iraq even more tenuous, he is worried about her future and hopes someone can help her stay in America and study to become a doctor, which is her greatest dream.

Hall said organizers are working on setting up a fund so that they can bring Salee to Greenville for a year or two of high school and then college. They will soon be meeting with Mayor Knox White, an immigration attorney who has expressed interest in helping as well.

“We’re very committed to her,” said Hall. “We feel like she’s been so brave and strong, it would be hard to consign her to the dismal future that seems to be facing her in Iraq. She’s a wonderful child and deserves a wonderful future.”

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