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Girl From Syria Gets a New Arm in Cincinnati

Monday was a big day for Rawan Mubarak. The nine-year-old girl received a custom-made prosthetic arm more than a year after she lost her arm in her native Syria.

Rawan has been in the United States since May. The Palestine Children's Relief Fund brought Rawan to Cincinnati after her parents reached out to the organization for help. Rawan lost her arm a year and a half ago when her neighborhood in a suburb of Damascus came under fire during a civil war in the country. Rawan also suffered internal injuries. Her aunt was also wounded.

"Her family and some relatives were seeking shelter outside of the home when I believe Rawan opened the door and was immediately hit with pieces of shrapnel in her arm," said Deema Magathe of the Palestine Children's Relief Fund. Rawan talked about how she felt through interpretor, Miloud Elwafi.

"I was really sad," Rawan said.

Rawan loves Spongebob, Dora the Explorer and playing on the computer. She talks to her family daily via the internet while she stays with a host family in West Chester.

J.F. Rowley in Corryville, which specializes in prosthetics for children, made Rawan's new arm. Christine Geeding, a prosthetist, made it so it will fit Rawan at her current size and as she grows older.

"We had to incorporate different techniques into our design but it's not that difficult," Geeding said. She added, "I hope she enjoys it. And, it's fun to work with her. "

Like many things, the new arm makes Rawan smile. It fit after a few adjustments. An occupational therapist will work with her to teach her how to use the arm. She said she's looking forward to using it.

"I will brush my Barbie's hair...I will help my mom," Rawan said.

Rawan will return to her family in Damascus, Syria at the end of the month. Her family has moved from the home where she was wounded. They now live in the in the center of the city which is safer.



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