Iraqi Boy, 10, Gets New Legs in America

ByABC News
April 13, 2005, 10:49 AM

KENT, Ohio, April 17, 2005 — -- Ten-year-old Majid Fadhil is a long way from his home, his parents and his six siblings in Kut, Iraq, getting a very special gift -- artificial legs and the ability to walk again.

Majid was hurt while walking home from school in Kut, in southeastern Iraq, with a younger cousin and other friends in February 2004. The cousin stepped on something -- it's not clear whether it was a roadside bomb planted by Iraqi insurgents, a stray grenade or a landmine -- and triggered an explosion. His cousin was killed. Majid lost his legs just below the knees.

Majid does not remember much about the incident -- but feels lucky to have survived.

He's shown remarkable progress. He took his first steps on his prosthetic legs in January. After physical therapy to rebuild thigh and back muscles he had not used for more than a year, he was walking by himself in a matter of weeks -- well enough that he was able to enroll in the third grade.

He's learning English quickly: His standard greeting is now: "What's up, dude?"

Majid's case came to the attention of Steve Sosebee, who runs the Palestinian Children's Relief Fund (, a charity that provides medical services to children in the Palestinian West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Sosebee found an orthopedic surgeon in nearby Akron, Ohio, who volunteered his services to operate on Majid's legs and refine the crude amputations.

Yanke Bionics, a prosthetics company, agreed to donate his artificial legs, which cost about $12,000 each.

In December, Majid made the trip from Kut to Kent in northeastern Ohio and joined the Sosebee household -- Steve's wife, Huda, a social worker who was born in Ramallah in the West Bank, and their 8-year-old daughter, Dima.

It was quite a change for Majid -- different food, a different climate and a different culture. And although the Sosebees all speak Arabic, it's a different dialect from Majid's. But he's taking it all in stride.

"We haven't had any problems with him at all," Steve Sosebee said. "He's adapted extremely well, and that says a lot about his character and personality."