BY : NIAMH SHACKLETON
Mohamed Bzeek has made it his ‘life’s mission’ to care for terminally ill children, having started doing it so children wouldn’t have to die alone in hospital.
Mohamed, who lives in Los Angeles, works closely with the LA’s Department of Child And Family Services (DCFS), which asks the 65-year-old to adopt terminally ill children.
The former Libyan immigrant came to the US 40 years ago and became an official citizen in 1997. Since he began fostering terminally ill children, 10 have tragically died in his arms.
While experiencing one death would be traumatic enough for most people, Mohamed continues to foster and care for terminally ill children.
Melissa Testerman, a DCFS intake coordinator who finds placements for sick children, told the Los Angeles Times in 2017, ‘If anyone ever calls us and says, ‘This kid needs to go home on hospice,’ there’s only one name we think of. He’s the only one that would take a child who would possibly not make it.’
Mohamed added, ‘They know that I do not hesitate to accept. If I don’t, they are sent to hospitals and don’t have a family or house. However, when I take them, they feel a family atmosphere. They feel safe and are loved until the end of their lives.’
He will always name those children who come into his care that don’t have one.
Mohamed cares for these children on top of caring for his biological son, who was born with dwarfism and osteogenesis impefecta.
If that wasn’t enough to break your heart into a thousand pieces, Mohamed himself was diagnosed with stage 2 colon cancer three years ago.
Speaking about his diagnosis, he said, ‘I had no family with me and I was scared. I felt the same what the kids feel. They are alone. If I am 62 [now 65] and I am scared, what about them?’
The world needs more people like Mohamed in it.
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