Aleppo, the second largest city in Syria, was recently devastated by a catastrophic earthquake. Aleppo also holds a special place in the heart of Asem Salma, MD. After seeing the news of the devastation, children being pulled from rubble and the displacement of so many families, he made the decision to return to the city he once called home and assist in relief efforts.
“I feel it is my duty and obligation to serve and offer any help in this time of adversity,” Dr. Salma explains “It breaks my heart.”
Dr. Salma is a neurosurgeon with Mercy Health – St. Rita’s Neurosurgery. He attended medical school in Aleppo and lived there for more than six years. He has many friends and many fond memories from his time in Syria. Since joining our ministry in 2017, he is now nearing 1,000 surgical cases. However, he will be taking some time off to travel back to Syria and assist the victims and relief efforts on the ground.
The Mission of our ministry is to extend the compassionate ministry of Jesus by improving the health and well-being of our communities and bringing good help to those in need, especially people who are poor, dying and underserved. We are called to action when we see people suffering, either at home or abroad.
Blankets are critical in relief efforts at this time to help protect families that have been displaced and are facing homelessness from freezing temperatures. In preparation for his trip, our Lima market has donated 250 blankets for Dr. Salma to distribute during his visit.
Additionally, we have launched an associate giving campaign where the ministry will match funds raised up to $50,000 to assist the people of Turkey and Syria. These funds will be distributed by Catholic Relief Services to provide aid directly to individuals and families in the most affected areas.
Dr. Salma adds, “I keep remembering what Kahlil Gibran, the famous American writer with Lebanese-Syrian heritage, wrote in a private letter to Mary Haskell in the early 1900s: ‘Poor Syria. Her children are nothing but poets. And though we sang as angels in her ear, she would not hear.’”
Learn more about our Mission at Mercy Health.