Lamise ElBetar, a young Egyptian University of Akron graduate student with a rare facial condition, is receiving an outpouring of community support after she was featured in a two-day Beacon Journal series.
Lamise ElBetar (pronounced Lah-meese El-Beh-tar) was born with a condition called a venous malformation, which has continued to grow and causes the lower right side of her face and the majority of her lips to protrude. It potentially threatens her life and quality of life.
A group of UA professors and community members have formed “Team Lamise” to raise funds needed for her medical treatments and to finish her degree. Costs could be hundreds of thousands of dollars. To read previous stories, go to www.tinyurl.com/Lamise1 and www.tinyurl.com/Lamise2.
The Akron community has now joined the efforts.
More than $5,500 has been raised since stories began on Sunday to the GoFundMe campaign, www.tinyurl.com/TeamLamise.
Specialists in Boston have agreed to treat Lamise beginning in January with a technique called sclerotherapy, a series of injections that will help to reduce the venous malformation.
Community members shared their reasons for donating to the Go Fund Me: “I donated because the world is full of ugly people but you, my dear, are not one of them. Your beauty shines like a light!” and “I want her to someday feel like people aren’t staring and talking behind her. God bless her and her doctors.”
Checks can be made out to “For Team Lamise” and sent to Global Ties Akron, For Team Lamise, P.O. Box 1762, Akron, OH 44309-1762.
Global Ties Akron is part of Team Lamise and is serving as the 501(c) fiscal sponsor for fundraising efforts. Donations are tax deductible. The organization hosts international exchanges sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, including the exchange that first brought Lamise to Akron, Global Ties Executive Director Michelle Wilson said.
“I always share with Global Ties Akron's international visiting leaders that the Akron community has such an incredible and giving heart. I am truly inspired by the reaction to the articles to Lamise's journey and the outpouring of community support,” Wilson said.
Fellow Team Lamise member Terry Daugherty, assistant dean and director of graduate programs for the UA College of Business Administration, said: “I believe on rare occasions throughout life we intersect with special people that help us to see beyond our own perspective. They humble us, sometimes change us, and often inspire us to become better people."
Lamise has been overwhelmed by the positive comments, saying "some of them even left me in tears. My main goal of this article is to convey my message of being positive and facing your fears no matter what and that you should stand up for yourself." People have told her she has "encouraged them to speak up and move on, and others who saw me as an intelligent and courageous young lady and not just a person seeking treatment.”
Beacon Journal consumer columnist and medical reporter Betty Lin-Fisher can be reached at 330-996-3724 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her @blinfisherABJ on Twitter or www.facebook.com/BettyLinFisherABJ and see all her stories at www.ohio.com/betty.