Raghad is a cheerful, pretty young Syrian woman, 18 years old, full of life and interested in many things, were it not for her health problems. They began when Raghad was two years old. In an accident, hot water flowed over the child's right foot, but it did not begin to cry as would have been expected, but reacted as if nothing had happened. A doctor found that Raghad did not feel any pain in her right foot. In search of the cause doctors discovered a malformation of Raghad's vertebrae (cleft formation) in the lower lumbar region and a malformation of the spinal cord. The child was therefore operated for the first time at the age of two years. However, the sensory disturbance in the foot remained and in the course of the following years, a pressure ulcer developed in Raghad's right foot sole. Another complication occurred during the growth phase. The lower malformed end of the spinal cord adhered to the wall of the spinal canal and Raghad suffered thereby from increasing pain in her lower back. Through surgery, the adhesions in the area of the spinal canal were released and the spinal cord was freed.

It would have been impossible for the family to finance Raghad's operation. Raghad's father works as a plasterer and is specialized in stucco and decoration work. In good times he earns $100 per month. His 23-year-old son assists him with the work. Raghad's mother is a housewife.

It is unlikely that through this operation the feeling in Raghad's right foot will return, but the chances are good that Raghad will have less, hopefully even no more pain in her back. That is quite important for Raghad as she has big plans. She enrolled at the University of Homs (Syria) for the study of literature but was unable to take up her studies as a result of her illness. Now she hopes to be able to do so next year. Her goal is to become an English teacher.

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