Kalamazoo family faces harsh dilemma over daughter’s rare disease

Kalamazoo County

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — Ten-year-old Lumar Jalil loves school. 

“My favorite subject is math,” said Jalil.

However, the joyful girl who loves to show offer her toys has faced some serious challenges in life. She suffers from Morquio syndrome, a rare genetic condition that affects her physical abilities and requires routine trips to the hospital for treatment. 

“Overall, she has at least three appointments per week,” said her father Erfan Kareem. 

Trips to the hospital aren’t fun for the 10-year-old. 

“It’s boring,” said Jalil. 

But they’re necessary. She’s had numerous surgeries, including some that happened as far away as Delaware. 

Her medical care could come to an end soon though. 

As part of her dad’s deal with the Iraqi government to study in the U.S., the family will have to return to Iraq once he earns his PhD degree from Southern Illinois University. Kareem doesn’t want to return, because his daughter wouldn’t get the type of medical care she receives in the U.S.

Kareem can get out of his deal by paying the Iraqi government $300,000.

“If I go back to my country and follow the rule that I signed my contract, I admit that my daughter will pass away in next few months,” Kareem said. “There is no treatment, or there is no healthcare, that can deal with her disease.”

He dreads what could happen to his family members in Iraq if he doesn’t pay or go back. 

“Maybe they kill them or explode their house with bombs,” he said. “This is very familiar in Iraq.”

His daughter hopes they can stay as well. 

“I came here to U.S. when I was 2-years-old,” Jalil said. “I want to stay here because I can receive all my treatments and it is better and safer here.”

Kareem has set up a GoFundMe account to raise money to pay off the Iraqi government. 

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