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On January 18, 2005 there was an incident in Tal Afar that caused irrevocable damage to the Hassan Family

For more details, here is an eyewitness report by Chris Hondros, the photographer present at the time.

Latest News

March 14, 2006
We are no longer accepting donations here for the Hassan Family, but yes you can still make donations at Project Hope. These are the people who are handling the ongoing distribution of funds in a fashion that is safe for the family.

There is a good article about Rakan's return on the Boston Globe website.

Please keep the Hassan Family in your prayers, and look around you every day. Suffering in the world is a finite force, doing something anywhere helps make it less.

Thank you for everything you did to make this happen; it was you donors and friends who made the noise that moved the country and got a Senator, the US military, and scores of doctors to pay attention and help. Take pride in that.

God Bless.

February 16, 2006
Rakan is back in Iraq with his family! He is doing very well, and is recovering powerfully. Dr. Ronan has secured continued rehabilitation for him, and we've worked out a process for transfering funds to an NGO that will maintain payments for rehabilitation, and apply funds as the family sees fit thereafter.

As always, we had to remain silent during the critical transfer, especially during this particular trip, since he was personally in motion. But now that he is situated, I'm happy to report wonderful things. He is recovering, his family is with him, and it's all in no small part due to your involvement in this.

It's a common thread in a cynical world-view that this planet is a stark and harsh place, and that the best we can do is care for our own and keep our heads down. Well, that's right. It is a stark and harsh place, and we can only care for our own -- but we get to decide who our own are -- not governments, not terrorists, not religions, not bombs or guns or fear. We decided that this family is our family, and we will take care of them in spite of oppression or darkness. I'm proud to be a part of your family by being allowed to pursue this the way we did.

Finally, most of you know by now that I'm a Christian, and that I feel that I was directed by God to do the small part that I did. I hope, in this small way, that anything I did that you find admirable will reflect back to God positively in your eyes; I'm a Christian, the Hassan Family are Muslims, they are my people and I hope they will accept me as theirs.

God Bless each and every one of you.

Photos: Here are some photos of Rakan when he was in Boston. He made some really wonderful friends there, including a very special young man named Will, who became like a brother to him.

December 1, 2005
Here's a letter from Rakan's doctor -- it's great news -- absolutely great news!

Dear Friends,

I serve as the Attending Physician for Rakan Mohammed here in Boston's Mass General Hospital. As you know his story I will be brief. After much work by our surgeons, physical therapists and rehab doctors Rakan is now walking with the help of Canadian crutches. Indeed he is "working out" on the treadmill to regain strength! This is nothing short of unbelievable and a testimony to the boy's fortitude and the help of all of his supporters. Much yet needs to be done. But, he is doing quite well, is happy, and looking forward to returning to Iraq in the next few weeks. I am sure many of you have helped with prayers and donations so I thought you would like this update.

Best regards,
Dr. Larry Ronan

September 22, 2005
Spectacular News!!!
As you can see from the date of the last entry, it's been a virtual media blackout for us for months. It's not a lightweight affair getting a minor out of Iraq under the best of circumstances, but a minor who needs medical treatment, who is living near a "hot" area, and is officially orphaned is almost insurmountable. But the spectacular effort of people around the world has made it happen.

Well, that effort has paid off. We will have more information soon, but Rakan is in the US and is currently preparing to receive the medical treatment he needs. He has traveled with his uncle and a nurse, seems in good spirits and is being cared for by a well-known doctor in the field.

That's the level of detail we can put into the public right now, and believe me, it's been really frustrating not being able to share any information for so long -- but it was necessary for the safety of the project.

Chris has seen Rakan in person, and has taken some low-rez pictures that he will send me so I can post them here. Thanks Chris.

I will be doing my best to get progress reports onto this site when the medical treatment commences, so watch this space for real this time!

The next steps after the medical treatments will be figuring out how to get the money to the family -- since just handing them a big check in the middle of Iraq wouldn't be a good idea. We're already working on that, stay tuned. Hopefully, soon, the final layers of media blackout can be removed and we can let you know everything that happened.

God Bless you all.

May 26, 2005
We now have the materials needed to get Rakan traveling! We have:

1 - A copy of Rakan's x-rays
2 - Rakan's Iraqi medical file
3 - Rakan's Iraqi passport
4 - Rakan's parent's civil identification documents

The state department is currently reviewing Rakan's medical status and will give us an assessment soon. Tomorrow will be 10 days, then we'll start calling and asking more aggressively. Keep the Faith, things are progressing slowly, but well.

May 12, 2005
Currently, we have raised over $10,000.00 for the Fund! This is wonderful news and will help us to accomplish our goals.

Right now, our primary focus is on Rakan, the older brother who was hurt in the incident. What originally was thought to be a superficial wound is actually a through-and-through gunshot wound. He is in stable condition, but needs surgery out of country in order to walk again We are securing his visa in order to get him, we hope, to Walter Reed Hospital in Washington, D.C. He is only 12, so some of these funds will go to cover travel for him and an adult.

On a sadder note, Marla Ruzicka, from Civic Worldwide was killed in Iraq on April 16, 2005. She was very instrumental in getting us to the point we are at with Rakan, and we're looking forward to keeping her memory alive as we work to make changes in the region. Please visit the site for more details about this amazing woman.

Repairing Hope

Our mission is plain. We do not expect to generate smiles or joy for the Hassan family today. But with your help, we will build something out of this chaos.

They will look back at this time and there will always be pain, that's unchangeable by any human effort. But the human spirit is resilient. Some day they will be over the shock. With your help, when that time comes, they will look back and see that out of their pain, something good happened for their community, and their loss was not pointless.

Together, we can put all our resources behind helping them and their community. By reaching out to their community and building in their parents' honor, we can attach to these memories a sense of purpose.

Funds collected from this site will be applied for the medical, housing and educational needs of these children. Once that has been secured, excess portions will be assigned to the building of a school, community center, or scholarship fund in the name of the parents.

What You Can Do

The Hassan Family Relief Fund is collecting funds to direct specifically to this family and their community. Please make a donation today.

If you don't feel called to make a donation, would you please consider forwarding this address to others? The more we spread the word, the greater the help we can achieve. Thank you!

Why This is Important

Currently, because Iraq is such a volatile location, charitable presence on the ground is almost non-existent. Many large charitable organizations have made the difficult decision to wait for less danger, and most have pulled out their agents in the field because of the clear possibility of being taken hostage or killed.

Donations through independent funds like this one will help to get money and support flowing where it is most needed, and these efforts help hold the line while the larger funds await safer circumstances to do their larger work. This is a beach-head operation against the darkness... we need your help.