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Syrian Americans Raise $3 Million in 1 Hour For Medical Relief Work

posted on: Feb 20, 2017

BY: Nisreen Eadeh/Staff Writer

In an astonishing act of fundraising, Syrian Americans raised $3 million in just one hour at the 6th annual Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS) National Conference this weekend.

The goal was to reach $1 million to aid in SAMS’ humanitarian relief efforts, but enthusiastic attendees tripled their goal. According to Kelly McEvers, several attendees gave single donations of $100,000. “One man donated his car, a 7-series BMW. Women spontaneously sent their 24-carat gold bracelets up for auction,” McEvers said in her viral Facebook post.

Syrian Americans from Michigan, Ohio, Texas, and other states traveled to Los Angeles for the conference, Healthcare and Medical Relief in Evolving Domestic and Global Landscape. The non-profit, non-political group provides medical and humanitarian relief to war-torn Syria, other Arab countries, and communities in need, such as Flint, Michigan.

In 2016 alone, SAMS treated 3 million Syrians, which was more than any other organization other than the World Health Organization. SAMS also delivered 40,000 babies in 2016 and vaccinated more than 250,000 Syrian children. Prominent physicians from the U.S. and Syria spoke at the event to share their stories of working long days with SAMS to help Syrians in need.

The conference was also used to discuss best practices, ways to improve access to healthcare for Syrians, how to work with new technologies, and challenges to performing surgeries in Syria’s broken medical system.

SAMS attendees also discussed political barriers to humanitarian relief, as well as targeted attacks on Syrian hospitals and “anti-refugee hysteria.”

Speaking at the conference, CNN Senior International Correspondent Arwa Damon said, “We are all very aware of the reality that exists – the world needs humanitarian orgs, now more than ever.”