Nova Scotia

Syrian refugee sisters receive gifts with first IWK dialysis treatments

Hooked up to hospital equipment with tubes sticking out of their arms, two young Syrian refugees were surprised to receive Valentine's love this weekend.

The Ali sisters arrived in Canada on Thursday and underwent their first dialysis treatment on Friday

Muhammed Besir Ali snaps a photo as his daughter Zeyn receives a Valentine's surprise at the IWK. (Submitted by Basim Sobeih)

Hooked up to hospital equipment with tubes sticking out of their arms, two young Syrian refugees were surprised when they received some Valentine's love at the IWK Health Centre in Halifax.

A woman pushing a toy cart greeted the Ali sisters, Zeyn, 10, and Viyana 13, with a hello and introduced herself in Arabic. She asked the girls to pick Valentine's gifts, and they chose dolls.

A card on the gifts said they were for patients and families and from everyone at the IWK.

Volunteers delivered a cart full of toys and the Ali sisters chose dolls. (Submitted by Basim Sobeih)

The girls were receiving their first kidney dialysis treatments at the hospital on Friday. That was the day after landing in Halifax, ending a two-year search for a safe home after fleeing Syria.

The family was supposed to be calling Saint John, N.B. home. However, days before their arrival, their sponsoring church learned the girls had special medical needs, so it was decided the family should settle in Halifax to be close to pediatric specialists.

The Beechville Lakeside Timberlea refugee sponsorship group stepped up quickly to act as the Ali family's sponsors.

That commitment involves assisting the family to adjust to life in Canada, including getting them to medical appointments.

The Ali family says they are thankful to be in Canada.


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