Thaer Jouda arrived in Portland, Oregon, during the summer of 2016 under the sponsorship of the Palestinian Children’s Relief Fund (PCRF). In 2014, at age 9, Thaer’s home was hit by a bomb during the war in Gaza. Thaer lost his mother and all four siblings, with his father being the only other family member to survive.
Thaer was struck by shrapnel, lost his leg and finger, and broke several bones. Although Thaer underwent a total of 21 surgeries to repair his injuries, there weren’t any quality prosthetic services in Gaza to give him the chance to walk again. Thaer’s biggest wish was to “receive a prosthetic leg and to walk on my own, and to be a kid again.” The PCRF heard of Thaer’s story and made it their mission to bring him to the United States to give him the opportunity to receive a prosthetic leg. They sent him to the Portland chapter of their organization where he was treated at Shriners Hospitals for Children.
“It becomes even harder when you have special needs because the resources one would need to live a decent quality life are very limited and sometimes completely not available,” says Dunia Saed, patient coordinator for the PCRF. Thaer was successfully fitted for a prosthetic leg at the Portland Shriners Hospital and ever since, has been coming for weekly physical therapy appointments to learn how to walk without depending on crutches.
Since becoming a patient of the Portland Shriners Hospital, Thaer has made great strides. Not only has Thaer started walking with his new prosthetic leg, he has also been able to bike with the help from Adaptive Sports Northwest and Incight. He participated in a summer hand cycling series and, after volunteers saw how much joy it brought him, they applied for a grant called Athletes Helping Athletes supported by Road Runner Sports.
Thaer was gifted a hand cycle and will be taking it back to Gaza with him when he returns. Thaer will remain under the sponsorship of PCRF until the age of 18 and will receive additional physical therapy, prosthetic management and future travel arrangements for treatment. Shriners Hospitals for Children — Portland is proud to be a part of Thaer’s journey and looks forward to being a part of his bright future.