A trio of young refugees who fled religious persecution in Iraq will spend their first Christmas as orphans after coronavirus killed their mother and father.
Nashwan Ismael, 21, and his 19-year-old sister Nadeen will care for their youngest sibling, a 14-year-old girl, Nancy after their mother Nada Niacin and father Nameer Ayram lost their lives to Covid in spring.
The family, who are Chaldean Catholics, left their native Iraq in 2012 over fears for their safety and settled in the US.
Two years ago, they bought their first home in Sterling, Michigan, and were overjoyed by the prospect of starting a new life in America.
But Nameer fell ill in mid-March, towards the very start of the Covid outbreak in the US, and tested positive for the virus days later.
Nada developed a cough around the same time and received her own coronavirus diagnosis days after her husband. The couple, who did not have any underlying health conditions, was admitted to hospital as their conditions worsened, ClickOnDetroit reported. Nada died on April 16, after three weeks on a breathing machine.
Nameer lost his life to Covid three weeks after his wife. Nashwan now managed his family’s finances, with the help of a friend, including bills and insurance. And the local police department was so moved by their story that they sent officers to the family’s house last week to help them decorate for Christmas.
Later in the week, officers came to collect the youngsters for a surprise. They were taken to a local hotel where a room had been stuffed with gifts for them, including a computer, clothes, and jewelry featuring photos of their mother and father.
Local businesses, including a dentist’s office, have also agreed to provide the Ismaels with free treatment to help them.