Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The final step to being healed – a gift for Tebarek

2nd Lt. Liz Lopez
2nd BCT, 10th Mtn. Div. (LI)
Multi-National Division – Center

YUSUFIYAH, Iraq — Miracles do not happen every day, but for one Iraqi girl and father, they seem to happen often enough.
It has been more than two months since Sgt. William Ludlow, a native of Fort Smith, Ark., and a combat medic with Company C, 210th Brigade Support Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) out of Fort Drum, N.Y., was first introduced to Tebarek, an Iraqi girl wounded in a mortar attack near the city of Yusufiyah, Iraq.
The whirlwind of events that followed changed each of their lives.
In response to Tebarek’s story of healing and love, the 31st Regiment Association, made up of retirees and former members of the 4th Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment, 2nd BCT, to whom Ludlow is attached, raised $2510 for her to receive a surgery to reverse the colostomy which had once saved her life.
With the cast now off her leg and her health improving, she and her family are ready to get back to a normal life.
Reversing the colostomy will enable Tebarek to do that by returning her normal intestinal function.
“Basically, this surgery is the last step in her being healed,” explained Ludlow.
On Sept. 1, Ludlow returned to Forward Operating Base Yusufiyah from Patrol Base Dragon, where he moved in August with the majority of 4-31 Inf., to present the money to the little girl and her father.
It would be the last time Ludlow would ever get to see this young patient who has inspired him to focus his future medical aspirations in pediatrics. Yet initially, he was not expecting to go.
“I had already said my goodbyes,” said Ludlow. “But, I changed my mind at the last moment.”
It was a short and simple ceremony, in which the medic presented Tebarek’s father with enough of the money raised to cover the surgery - $1000. The unit saved the rest of the money for another Iraqi child who needed heart surgery to correct a congenital defect.
Due to combat operations which coincided with the presentation, Arabic translators were limited, but, words were not really necessary.
When Ludlow presented the money to Tebarek’s father he already knew what it was for. And his gratitude was immeasurable.
Although he has no way of knowing, Ludlow assumes Tebarek has already had her surgery. Her dad seemed anxious to get it done even before he received the financial help.
“You don’t see many fathers react to their kids the way he reacted to her,” said Ludlow sounding impressed.
There was a lot of love surrounding Tebarek, and that is what saved her life.
Though he admits to missing his sessions with the little girl, Ludlow agreed that it was time for them both to move on.
Tebarek will be starting school in a couple months, and with her latest surgery, she will be just another normal child.

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