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06-2022

Seriously ill ‘Tiny Tim’ needs immediate help from family and friends to bring him to Canada

A family of a critically ill child is asking the Canadian government for help to survive a hopeless situation. And he has family and many residents in London, Ont. behind them.

The Alhamad family lives in the basement of an abandoned house in Beirut, Lebanon. They have been living there since fleeing war-torn Syria.

Parents Ezzedine and Midea struggle to find basic medicine for their son Tim. His plight and name parallel the modern version of Charles Dickens’ character ‘Tiny Tim’.

Tim Alhamad suffers from Epidermolysis Bullosa, also known as Butterfly Syndrome.

This condition causes blistering sores, persistent itching and can hinder swallowing. In severe cases like Tim’s, the skin becomes delicate like butterfly wings.

For Ezzedine, the pain of watching his son suffer from his inability to care is heartbreaking.

Seriously ill 'Tiny Tim' needs immediate help from family and friends to bring him to CanadaEzzedine Alhamd is seen with son Tim in a video call with CTV News London from their home in the basement of an abandoned house in Beirut, Lebanon. The Alhamad family is pleading with the Canadian government to move them to London, Ont. Tim may therefore seek treatment for severe epidermolysis bullosa, which makes the skin so delicate that it blisters upon contact.

With no electricity at their residence, the family managed to charge a phone long enough to speak to CTV News London from Beirut. Using a translator, Ezzedine explained his family’s plight.

“To them, what they’re saying is that the most important thing to them is Tim’s health and life. So that’s their priority. That’s what they want, find a way to help as much as possible.”

Help for Alhamd is coming from all corners of London, including Ezzeddin’s brother Mustafa.

A refugee herself, she now has a comfortable home and business to provide shelter and a job for her brother when the family arrives.

Seriously ill 'Tiny Tim' needs immediate help from family and friends to bring him to CanadaMustafa Alhamd and his son Amin, who also suffers from epidermolysis bullosa, are seen outside their home in London, Ont. in January 2022. (Sean Irwin / CTV News)

But above all Mustafa is worried about his nephew.

“My brother and his family, we are trying to get him to Canada to have a good life for his son.”

Mustafa understands Tim’s situation, as his own son Amin is suffering from epidermolysis bullosa.

Gene mutations, sadly, are often inherited.

“(Amin) also has the same disease. We know that (Tim’s) life will go through hard with this disease.”

Alhamed’s biggest London supporter is confident that moving to Canada will greatly improve Tim’s life.

Her name is Martha McCray.

The banking employee heard about Alhamd’s plight last summer and was determined to act.

Seriously ill 'Tiny Tim' needs immediate help from family and friends to bring him to CanadaMartha McCray, who is leading the effort in London, Ont. Alhamad speaks during a video call with CTV News London, to help the family move to Canada.

“I just thought, ‘I have to do something.’ This is a child, if an infection comes along, he is going to die. He is underweight, susceptible to infection.”

Over several months, Macrae has raised $42,000 for the family. She also acquired a car, donated by Oxford Dodge, to drive the family to and from Tim’s medical appointments.

But the most important thing is that her care is safe.

“I lined up a pediatrician who would treat Tim. I have a pediatrician who would treat him. Of course a pediatric dermatologist is important for a child with this condition.”

The care available in Canada is a far cry from that of family in Lebanon for Tim, as Media explained via translator.

“What they’re using now is just Vaseline, you know ordinary Vaseline, to cover the skin so as not to stick or at least minimize the skin clinging to the bandages.”

“He’s constantly bleeding from wounds and there’s nothing you can do to ease his aches and pains,” says McCray.

She challenges Canadians to ask themselves, “How would you like to know if your child is in constant pain?”

Seriously ill 'Tiny Tim' needs immediate help from family and friends to bring him to CanadaThe effect of epidermolysis bullosa, also known as butterfly syndrome, on the feet of Tim Alhamad. (Source: Alhamad Family)

To help the family, a former plaintiff, McCray, has reached out to legal friends to prepare an urgent immigration application.

He says it contains all the necessary forms except the refugee status determination document.

Given Tim’s condition, MacRae requests that the Alhamds be granted an exemption on compassionate and humanitarian grounds.

The documents were submitted in mid-December. However, McCray says she became upset a week ago, when she claims the documents could not be traced by Immigration and Citizenship Canada.

She took her concerns to the office of Peter Fragiskatos, MP for London North Centre. They are probing the matter.

CTV News London has contacted Immigration and Citizenship Canada.

We are yet to receive a response to our request for an interview.

For Macrae, it’s disappointing.

“I really hoped I’d at least get an acknowledgment from Immigration Canada that, ‘We’ve got it and we’re looking into it.’ Has a beautiful face, and she deserves a life and we have everything. We have absolutely everything to take care of this family. The green signal from our government is the only thing standing in the way is. “

Meanwhile, Alhamd clings to hope, in the dark, as Ezzeddin explained via translator.

“It is a dream for him to reach Canada. If that happens, they will be very happy, the only thing they want is to move them to Canada, get treatment, and live a good life for Tim in the future.

A good life together as a family again in Canada.

After all, the family is what makes 10-year-old Amin daily battling the same disease, desperately wanting for his cousin Tim.

For Amin, a reunited Alhamd family is “what is love” everything.

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