The United Arab Emirates has a long history of sending its children to Children’s National Hospital for treatment. In 2009, the government gifted the hospital with a $150 million donation. Part of the gift went into building the Sheik Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation. At the time of the gift, the UAE’s Ambassador to the United States, Yousef Al Otaiba said that donation would lead to innovations in pediatric surgery.
A Personal Connection
Four years later, Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba and his wife Abeer would depend on that innovation to help their daughter. In late 2012, the Al Otaibas learned that their second child would be born with a malformation on her lungs that would require surgery. After her birth in 2013, Samia Al Otaiba underwent a successful surgical procedure to remove the malformation. Of the emotional and heart-wrenching experience, Ambassador Al Otaiba said:
“You learn that there are certain things you just can’t control. There’s a lesson in humility about what you can and cannot do, but it also creates bonds like this that you can’t replace.”
Treatment for All
That same year, the Al Otaibas co-chaired the Children’s National Foundation Ball. Since then they have become more involved with the fundraising efforts for Children’s National. The hospital was there for them and their daughter when they needed it. So the Al Otaibas want to ensure that Children’s will be available to everyone in the Washington D.C. community if they needed it too. The hospital serves every family regardless of their ability to pay, making fundraising efforts critical.
Children from the United Arab Emirates also travel to Children’s National for treatment. When they do, the children and their families will not only receive world-class medical treatment but also treatment designed to help families get through a difficult time.
Since becoming involved with fundraising efforts for Children’s National, the Al Otaibas have raised millions of dollars for the hospital. The funds go into helping develop medical innovations and fund crucial medical research that will continue to help children. Other officials who represent the government of the UAE have also joined the Al Otaibas by donating funds to support the hospital and the work it continues to do.
Abeer and Yousef Al Otaiba observe the work of Children’s National Medical Center daily. Their daughter Samia is living a normal life thanks to the dedication and innovations of Children’s National.