LONDON: A Syrian child born with no limbs after his mother endured a gas attack during her pregnancy is set to receive four prosthetic replacements in Italy following a charity campaign.
Thanks to donations totalling €114,000 ($129,000), Mustafa Al-Nazzar, 6, will be treated by world-leading doctors at the INAIL prosthetic center near Bologna.
“It will be a complicated job, but we aim to allow Mustafa to live an autonomous life,” said Gregorio Teti, technical director of the center that has worked with Alex Zanardi, the Formula One driver who lost his legs in a crash.
Al-Nazzar’s mother was pregnant when the Syrian regime dropped gas bombs on Idlib province in 2016. The event has been linked to the boy’s condition.
Like so many others caught up in the regime’s oppression and the ongoing conflict, the family fled to Turkey, where Al-Nazzar was photographed being held in the air by his father, who lost a leg following a bomb attack.
The famous photo captures their beaming smiles despite the suffering they have both endured.
The photographer was honored by the Siena International Photo Awards, which diverted the world’s eyes to the photo, inspiring the organizers of the prize to launch a charity appeal for Al-Nazzar.
“We feared that after the attention to the photo died down, the boy would get no help,” said Luca Venturi, the prize founder.
The Italian government has assisted with visas to bring the whole family to Italy, including Al-Nazzar’s two younger sisters. The Catholic Church has offered the family an apartment.
Teti said Al-Nazzar’s new limbs could be adjusted to work thanks to small movements the boy makes in his shoulders and torso, which will require lengthy training sessions.
Venturi said: “As he grows he will need to change limbs, while translators will be needed until the family can learn Italian. We are aiming to get to €400,000 raised.”
Al-Nazzar’s father told Italian media: “Mustafa is really happy, he has said he will finally be able to walk, hug me and go to school on his own.”