Eight years ago, I was working as an Arabic medical interpreter in Chicago living check to check. I remember hating everything about the medical field besides the paycheck that came with the job. It was something that was never meant for me.
One day, I had to translate for a woman and her very sick daughter who was coming in for a cardiac surgery. I found out that this woman has experienced the deaths of three of her children in the past four years, with her daughter on the verge of dying next. She explained to me that without money, no one would see her in her country in the middle east. She told me that the only healthcare her family has ever had was by healthcare providers on medical missions. Her children died as a result of the family financial situation. Hard to believe right? Well..it was one of many common stories out there.
Her story shook me to the core. How could someone suffer so much? There was a whole world out there that I had no clue about. This woman asked me to make her a promise. A promise to help those who lost everything. A promise to those so had no one. I did make her this promise. 8 years later, I find myself in a nurse anesthesia program looking to start my very own medical team when I finish in two years.
I could not wait to get started. I've worked in West Africa, Northern Greece with Syrian refugees, and headed back to Lebanon next week on my third mission. I have highlighted my journey because I want to be the voice to the voiceless. My film "No Place Like HOPE" highlighted the struggles some of the Syrian refugee’s face leaving their war-torn country on to a better life. This is just the start for me. I will continue this path because I believe that if you can save one life, you've done well, but why stop there?
I plan to work with people with vision issues to work on preventable blindness around the world. There are many people out there in the world who can benefit from having their lives back IF ONLY they had their vision restored or at least to functional levels. I want to do this because I believe everyone deserves a chance to see the beauty the world has to offer. Everyone deserves to see a smile and someone smiling back at them. Lasik and cataract surgeries will be just the start. I know many medical teams do this kind of work but you can never have enough medical teams doing this kind of work.
I'll conclude with this…..
A blind man by the name of Victor said to me, “How many times do you die in life?”
My reply: Once!
Victor: No! You die twice.
Victor: The first is when you take your last breath, and the second is when your name, or the impact you made on earth, is echoed for the last time.
I don’t want die twice……..That's #WhyIDo
You can follow Mohammad's journey by checking out his Instagram.