Young Tsunami Survivors Find New Start At Shriners Hospitals

Young Tsunami Survivors Find New Start At Shriners Hospitals

When the​ Indian Ocean tsunami crashed ashore on December 26, 2004, many things were lost. Homes were swept away, belongings gone forever. Hundreds of​ thousands of​ people lost their lives in​ the​ disaster. and​ many of​ those who survived, including children, literally lost a​ part of​ themselves.

Seven-year-old Tara Aulia and​ 11-year-old Hamdani survived the​ tsunami that ripped through their villages in​ Indonesia's Aceh province, but along with their homes and​ family members, both children lost a​ limb.

Despite the​ horrors Tara and​ Hamdani experienced and​ the​ steep odds they faced at​ obtaining proper medical care, they had reason to​ celebrate less than a​ year later. Both children were given a​ new start and​ new prosthetics at​ Shriners Hospitals for​ Children - Philadelphia.

Tara, whose right leg had to​ be amputated when it​ became infected from an​ injury sustained during the​ tsunami, immediately adjusted to​ her prosthesis.

"It's wonderful to​ see a​ child adapt as​ well as​ she has so quickly," said Jeff Eichhorn, director of​ orthotics and​ prosthetics at​ the​ Philadelphia hospital. "She will be able to​ do anything."

Hamdani was playing soccer when the​ tsunami swept him away. He grabbed onto a​ boat, and​ as​ he clung for​ his life with his left arm, an​ uprooted tree surged past, severing his right arm above the​ elbow.

Tara and​ Hamdani came to​ the​ Philadelphia hospital through the​ Global Medical Relief Fund, a​ charitable organization that provides transportation to​ the​ United States and​ housing to​ children injured by war, natural disaster or​ illness.

With the​ help of​ Shriners Hospitals, which, as​ always, provided all services at​ no charge to​ the​ children or​ their families, Tara and​ Hamdani have been given a​ new start.

"Without this help, I don't know what she would do, how she would live," said Tara's father, Sulaiman Aulia.

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