Leaving her family behind was like having her heart torn from her chest. Their whole village was bombed, leaving no food, no work and no life. Amal and her daughter, Abir, knew they had to leave their village in Deirzour, Syria to survive.

Running for their lives, they soon found refuge in a settlement camp in Lebanon. Now homeless, and desperately missing the supportive, loving family they had left behind, at least now there were no more bombs. Finally, Amal thought she and her daughter were safe.

But, just weeks after arriving at the settlement, her daughter became very sick. She had a constant fever and was always tired and withdrawn. When the symptoms didn’t go away, Abir saw a doctor and was given antibiotics. But she didn’t get any better.

After more tests, the doctor finally found the cause: type 1 diabetes, brought on by stress. Without treatment, her symptoms would persist. If they worsened, her disease could become deadly.

Amal used every bit of savings she had to buy Abir’s insulin. But soon, it became too expensive—insulin is only available locally, and can cost $100 per month—a price too high for this refugee family forced into poverty.

Amal and Abir, a mother and daughter, holding hands inside their tent in the Syrian refugee settlement

Instead of playing outside, Abir stayed inside by herself. Everything made her feel so exhausted. “I wish that I could bear all of this for her,” said her mother. “She is always mentally exhausted.”

Depressed, alone and feeling hopeless, it seemed too much to bear. Surviving was already difficult enough—Amal hated that it now seemed impossible to meet their basic needs. She hated how much this disease could hurt her precious child.

Then, they learned about a second option: thanks to your support, we are able to run a clinic in their settlement. When Abir and Amal visited us, our doctors were able to provide them with alternatives to insulin—lifestyle and diet changes that could help control Abir’s insulin levels, keeping her symptoms in check—giving her the energy and tools to survive.

“She is in good condition now,” smiled her mother.

Although they both still struggle with the pain of leaving their family and the challenges of refugee life, at least now our team can help lift the burden of diabetes from Abir’s shoulders. Although it won’t fix everything, it’s one step in the right direction.


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