Syrian Sisters Gain a Chance at Life

Twins Lilas and Lilian at their home. Photo credit: Independent Doctors Association.

When Lilas and Lilian were born prematurely one month early they were fighting for their lives. The sisters were immediately rushed to Hope Hospital for children which is run by our partners the Independent Doctors Association (IDA) in northern Syria. IDA’s medical team had to act fast and lab tests soon confirmed the twins were suffering from respiratory distress syndrome, a condition which occurs when a baby’s lungs aren’t fully developed, and therefore can’t provide enough oxygen.

Lilas and Lilian were admitted to the special care baby unit at Hope Hospital, where it was touch-and-go for a while. IDA’s dedicated medical team provided around-the-clock care (as well as phototherapy which is used to treat jaundice). Thankfully the twins’ little lungs started to get stronger, and after a week the girls were able to go home.

Fast forward five months and while out on his rounds in the local community Head Dr. Hatem confirmed the girls are healthy and thriving. “Born at 34 weeks Lilas and Lilian were struggling for their lives…now they are healthy and safe in their mother’s arms” he explained.



A complete family unit


IDA recently shared some footage of Lilas, Lilian and their father at their home. The father raised one daughter resting on his arm so she could see her sister in the booster seat below, the girls’ eyes met and they gazed reassuringly at each other as if to say “don’t worry sis I’m still here.” It was just a typical everyday moment in the lives of a young family but it was a beautiful sight to see, considering how differently things could have turned out.

The twins’ father spoke passionately about the doctors and nurses who saved his daughters. “Thank God they were very caring at the hospital,” he said. “I am very thankful for the Hope Hospital team.”

He recalled the kindness of Head Nurse Malak who runs the special care baby unit and explained how grateful he was for the daily updates and pictures of his daughters’ progress.


The heroes providing hope


Head Nurse Malak and a young patient. Photo credit: Independent Doctors Association.

Supporting the work of our partners IDA is an honour, as our Founder Dr. Rola Hallam put it in her recent TED Talk “from the rubble of death and devastation arise the most noble and gallant human beings” and nothing could be truer of Nurse Malak and her team.

Despite all the challenges of being forced out of their city after their previous hospital was bombed out of existence, losing loved ones and their homes, and for some sustaining life-changing injuries, their commitment to Hope Hospital is unfailing.

Every day IDA do whatever it takes to help displaced and local children like Lilas and Lilian. In little over a year after opening Hope Hospital has treated over 16,300 children, tackled 444 emergencies and provided over 47,600 consultations.

As the world’s first crowdfunded hospital, Hope Hospital is a testament to human kindness, showing exactly what’s possible when the global community comes together to chip in and help. However uncertain times are ahead as IDA attempt to raise urgent funds to save Hope Hospital from closure. We believe we have the power to meet courage with compassion again. Let’s help the people of Syria tell more good news stories by keeping a beacon of hope shining.


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