At only 9-years-old, Saleh Humaid has been through more than many of us could imagine. The young boy managed to survive a horrific Israeli bombing in Gaza, Palestine, where he lost part of his right leg. Saleh was able to receive a prosthetic leg thanks to the Palestine Children’s Relief Fund (PCRF), but he had to travel all the way to Dearborn Heights for the surgery. Now, after two months of therapy, he’s finally ready to go home.
Saleh arrived in Detroit on Monday, July 12 before he was taken to Anew Life Clinic downtown to get fitted the following day.
It was his first time in the U.S. thanks to the efforts of the PCRF, a nationwide nonprofit that helps send Palestinian children like Saleh abroad for care.
During his stay in Dearborn Heights, Saleh is being hosted by Yasmeen Hamed and her family, who said they were looking forward to helping him heal and giving him hope.
“He is a dream,” Hamed said. “He is the sweetest thing ever. He has done really well. He is comfortable. I told him that we are his family here and that anything he needs or wants that I’m here for him.”
Hamed said that in 2021 Saleh was out with his father in Gaza when a bomb struck his home town.
“He has not told me exactly everything that has happened and I haven’t asked him yet because I know it is a sensitive topic and he struggles with PTSD from it,” she said.
The bomb not only caused Saleh to lose the lower part of his right leg, but also left injuries to his right arm and face.
Hamed, who is no stranger to hosting children brought in for care from Palestine, said this case is a little different than the rest.
“This is my first time getting a child this young,” she said.
However, getting Saleh to the States was not as easy as many may assume. The movement in and out of Gaza is challenging. The region has strict bordering controls, including checkpoints and limited access points, making the process of entry and exit — and even obtaining resources like food, water and medical assistance — extremely difficult.
But because of the PCRF, it gives children like Saleh hope that they can heal.
“PCRF does everything,” Hamed said. “They work with Anew Life Clinic, they work with the Visa, they work with the government to bring him because to get him out of Gaza is very difficult.”
Once Saleh received his prosthetic, he began therapy. And when he is ready he will return back home, but not before Hamed shows him a good time… something she has done with her own son with special needs.
“If someone took my oldest, who is special needs that needed something, I would hope that a parent or a family would take care of my son the way I care for the kids that stay with me,” she said. “There’s no ifs or ands or buts about it. He’s the newest member of our family. I’m going to make sure he really enjoys his stay here.”
Saleh’s prosthetic has made all the difference in the world for his confidence and well being. Hamed said that she noticed a positive change right away.
“It’s like watching somebody gain their independence, and seeing his smile alone is amazing,” she said in an interview with CBS Detroit. “I’m so excited for him.”
After welcoming Saleh into her home and supporting him through such a huge moment in his life, Hamed considers him one of her own. The mom of four will be sad to see the young man go back to Palestine.
“The other day, someone asked how many kids do you have,” Hamed told CBS Detroit. “And I included him as one of my children. I’m like, ‘This is my fifth.’”
However, she’s not the only one who’s going to miss the boy. Saleh made quite an impression on both his host family and their friends in Dearborn Heights.
“The community welcomed him,” Hamed said. “They gifted him. They invited him. They welcomed him into their homes. He had a beautiful experience, and I’m so happy that we were able to facilitate it.
“I know my kids will never forget him, and we will definitely keep tabs on him and watch him grow into a young man, hopefully,” she added.