Charity helps give Palestinian teen a new leg - FOX 32 News Chicago

FOX Medical Team

Charity helps give Palestinian teen a new leg

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ATLANTA -

A random email to an Atlanta man helped change the life of a boy in Palestine.

The Palestine Children's Relief Fund, a non-profit organization, sent an email to Will Holbrook in Atlanta about a 13-year-old boy who loves soccer but who could no longer play it after losing part of his leg.

The group asked Holbrook, a specialist with Atlanta Prosthetics and Orthotics, if he could help.

A few months later Osama Assi was on a plane, headed to Georgia.
    
When Osama was 11, playing in an orchard near his West Bank home, he fell into a machine that crushed his left leg.

The Palestine Children's Relief Fund, which helps kids in the Middle East get medical care they can't get at home, asked Holbrook if he could help.
    
"You see the face, and then all of a sudden, it's just, you need to do it," said Holbrook. "I tell parents when I see kids, ‘Do not keep them from doing anything.'  If they want to jump off the trampoline, have them jump off the trampoline.  If they break it, we'll fix it," Holbrook said.

But first, Holbrook has to create a perfect fit.
 
"It can be the most expensive, most state of the art prosthesis in the world, if this does not fit right, it will not work," Holbrook said.

Osama, who speaks Arabic, relies on host mother Mouna Ibrahim and PCRF Atlanta volunteers to translate for him.

On his first visit, he seemed overwhelmed. But a few days later, he seemed to understand what was happening.

After an initial test leg didn't fit, Holbrook went back to the lab and tweaked it.

A week later, sleepy but smiling, Osama returned for the real deal. The leg fit perfectly.

To give it a real test, Osama played the sport he lives for, soccer.

"Amazing…Running around like he's been wearing that leg his whole life, it's very amazing to see that," said Holbrook.

"Today, he has a very wide smile and it's beautiful to be part of something like this. It's really great," said volunteer Mouna Ibrahim.

At his 14th birthday party, Osama stood tall.   

"He said it's a great experience because he was able to get a leg and become like he used to be before.  When he had two legs," Osama said through Ibrahim, his translator.

Osama returned home on Tuesday, thankful for the people, and the place, that made him feel whole again.

Will Holbrook got the help of a physical therapist at Mercer University to work with him. She's helped him work on his gait, and feel more comfortable with his leg.

RELATED LINK: The Palestine Children's Relief Fund

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