Khudur Mansour, 82 years old, was not on our medical missions’ shortlist.

Standing beside Khudur is Ayad Muayad Salih, of the Iraqi Institution for Development (IID), nonprofit partner of Veterans Rebuilding Life.

He suffered from an Abdominal aortic fusiform aneurysm. He needed an urgent surgery to repair an abnormal artery that was at risk of rupturing to fatal consequences.

Mansour’s survival rate was less than 50 per cent. Forced to play God, the team did not have the heart to decline the case. We rushed to scramble last minute donations and Mansour underwent surgery in October.

Serving for a decade in the Iraqi army, Mansour’s retirement was modest. Two of his sons were killed, and one was disabled, leaving Mansour’s son Muhannad, a civil servant at Mosul’s municipal office, to be the sole breadwinner for his children and brothers.

Muhannad described in harrowing how ISIS detonated four of his neighbors’ homes reducing them to rubble and forced his entire family to barricade in their pantry while the terrorist group placed their snipers on his family home’s rooftop.

‘Every morning we came to terms with the thought that our house was going to be bombed and that we would not live to see another day. It was a miracle when the armed forces finally rescued us,’ said Muhannad.

But, once ISIS was defeated and while the family was picking up the pieces to return to a normal life, his father Mansour fell ill. Once diagnosed he was told he needed an urgent life-saving surgery. The wait at the government hospital was too long and the expense at a private hospital were too high.

‘I remember my father breaking into tears and telling me to just let him die,’ said Muhannad, ‘and that is when one of the hospital staff connected me to your team.’ Mansour’s recovery was touch-and-go for a while.

Veterans Rebuilding Life touched based with Muhannad in December and were happy to learn that his father was fully recovered and excited to celebrate the new year with his 21 grandchildren and 6 surviving children.

Emotional, Muhannad concluded the interview by thanking both Veterans Rebuilding Life and the Iraqi Institution for Development: ‘In saving my father’s life it is as if you’ve saved the lives of everyone in my family. You are in our prayers always.’