Why Father’s Day Means So Much to Hafez And His Son

An Iraqi father and his infant son enjoy each other's company, waiting for his son to be put on a list of Iraqi children needing heart surgery

At exactly this time last year, Hafez (pictured above) was facing down the worst Father’s Day of his life as he desperately worked against the clock to save his son’s life.

At exactly this time last year, we asked for your help… and you came through in a huge way, raising more than $30,000 in just a few weeks so we could launch our first-of-its-kind Remedy Mission inside Iraq.


At exactly this time last year, you made this father’s day and helped secure for him a happier life than the one he was facing without you.

Meet Abdul Kareem – the son of my friend, Hafez. When I met them, they did not have the money to pursue surgery outside of Iraq like all the rich people, people with political clout, or the lottery winners. I’ll never forget Hafez’s plea to me – certainly the same plea I would make on behalf of my son – “Just do something for him. He’s just a little boy.” He got so emotional that he excused himself from my office. This father, having done all he could for his son, walked away from the office crying.

Abdul Kareem needed heart surgery before his first birthday or he was likely to become entirely inoperable – “a lost cause.” But you weren’t about to let that happen! The day our surgical team arrived from all over the world for Remedy Mission I, Hafez must have seen us on the news because he called me ten times: “Is my boy going to surgery? Mr. Jeremy, just do something to help my little boy!” His boy was going to surgery, thanks to those of you who gave in response to our request last year’s for Father’s Day and our Remedy Mission launch!

Abdul Kareem

There is another moment with my friend Hafez that I won’t forget – the day his son Abdul Kareem had surgery. I remember it so distinctly because after the surgery Hafez grabbed me, kissed me, and gave me a tearful “thank you” for keeping our word; for saving his son’s life. 

Once Abdul Kareem was discharged to return home, Hafez sent me a message from the road. The message said something like, “Thank you so much for your organization and for helping my little boy. We will not forget you.“ 

With tears running down his face, he wanted to thank you each by name. 

You made a father’s dream come true. And you prevented his big brother, Abbas, from growing up without a soccer-buddy.