An Army soldier will reunite today, with an Iraqi girl he helped get the gift of sight. For the first time the seven-year-old girl – named Zahraa -will see the American soldier who helped give her that gift. Sergeant John Kempen will reunite with Zahraa after working with the Lions clubs to bring her to the U.S. and provide her with a corneal transplant.
Kempen, a Wisconsin native, will join Zahraa and the Lions at Crandon Elementary School today to celebrate a successful corneal transplant. This will be the first time the soldier sees Zahraa since discovering her vision impairment while he was stationed in Iraq in 2006. Kempen says it took persistence to get Zahraa to the States, and he credits members of his unit and the Lions clubs for helping make it happen.
Eye Clinic of Wisconsin corneal disease specialist Dr. Kevin Flaherty operated on Zahraa at Aspirus Wausau Hospital just over a month ago. Flaherty, the Lions clubs and the hospital donated the corneal transplant, and kids at Crandon Elementary helped to raise money.