Edward Norton was so moved by the story of one Syrian refugee settling in America that the actor has launched a fundraising campaign to support him and his family.
It all began with Brandon Stanton of the popular Humans of New York photo blog. He shot a series called The Syrian American that spotlights Syrian refugees settling in America. One story, from a man nicknamed “The Scientist,” caught the attention of President Obama.
The man, who is settling in Troy, Michigan, said he lost seven family members, including his wife and a daughter, after a missile attack. Though he has a PhD, he struggled to find work and now suffers from cancer, though his hope to one day help humanity remains alive. Read part one of his story below, and parts two, three, four, five, six, and seven on the HONY Facebook page.
“As a husband and a father, I cannot even begin to imagine the loss you’ve endured,” Obama wrote in the comments. “You and your family are an inspiration. I know that the great people of Michigan will embrace you with the compassion and support you deserve.”
The president’s response helped The Scientist’s story go viral and catch the attention of Norton, who reached out to Stanton for help launching a fundraiser on CrowdRise, which the actor co-founded.
“I saw this story on one of my favorite sites, Humans of New York, and it moved me to tears,” Norton wrote in a statement. “This man has suffered profound loss that would crush the spirit of many people and yet he still passionately wants a chance to contribute positively to the world. If we don’t welcome people like this into our communities and empower his dream of making an impact with his life, then we’re not the country we tell ourselves we are.”
As of Sunday afternoon, the fundraiser earned more than $341,000 in donations. “Everything we raise here will go to help this family so that the father can get the medical treatment he needs to live and pursue his work, and his family can build a new stable life after their tragedy, and…as the Scientist beautifully expresses…to support his dream of contributing to the world,” Norton added.
Those wanting to contribute can donate to the fundraiser on CrowdRise.