Four-year-old Yousuf was playing outside of his family’s home in Iraq when two masked men drove up, doused him with gasoline and set him on fire. Yousuf spent two months in an Iraqi hospital as a result of the severe burns that covered his face and body, but there was little doctors there could do.
Before the attack, Yousuf was an energetic and outgoing little boy who dreamed of being a doctor. Understandably, in the months following the attack he became sad and withdrawn, both emotionally and physically.
The Children’s Burn Foundation learned of Yousuf’s story through news coverage aired on CNN. The Foundation immediately came forward to help, arranging all of Yousuf’s medical care, transportation and housing in the U.S., and providing for all of the family’s needs. Yousuf, traveling on a plane for the first time, arrived in Los Angeles with his parents and baby sister. This was the first step in a long recovery process. Since coming to Los Angeles, he has undergone more than a dozen reconstructive surgeries with Dr. Peter Grossman, co-medical director of the Grossman Burn Center. Tissue expanders, balloons inflated with saline solution to expand healthy skin, were inserted into Yousuf’s right cheek and underneath his chin. The expanded skin was used to replace much of the massive scar tissue on his face.
For 10 months following the incident, Yousuf was unable to smile and had enormous difficulty speaking and eating because of the thick scar tissue that had formed restricting the movement around his mouth. He has responded well to his surgeries and now smiles often. Yousuf’s family has been overwhelmed by the Foundation’s friendship and support, as well as the generosity of people from around the world. They are especially grateful for the emotional and physical transformations that they have seen in Yousuf.
Today, Yousuf enjoys the Children’s Burn Foundation programs including Camp Gung-Ho, and the Foundation continues to provide him with necessary services, surgeries and support as his full recovery continues.
See a video of Yousuf at Family Camp