The word “hero” isn’t big enough for someone like Mohamed Bzeek, who for the past 20 years has been a devoted and loving foster father to children who had nobody else, and not much time left to live.
According to the LA Times’ Hailey Branson-Potts, Mohamed Bzeek loves and cares for the very sickest children in Los Angeles, and he keeps doing it again and again, because there’s nobody else.
Losing a child is probably the worst thing a person can go through, and Bzeek has lost 10 children already. This is the most emotionally brutal thing a person could go through, and Bzeek goes through it willingly, and he does it again and again. And even when his foster children are alive, caring for them is grueling and difficult work. He’s currently caring for a six-year-old girl who has been with him since she was just a month old. She has a serious malformation of her brain, and she’s blind and deaf and can’t speak. Her brain can’t even properly regulate her body temperature. But he carries her and sings to her and holds her and comforts her. She was never expected to live very long, and the fact that she’s lived to be six is astonishing. Another girl with the same brain disorder lived for only eight days after Bzeek and his wife brougth her home.
Bzeek says his wife had been a foster parent before they got married, and they provided foster homes together until she died. Then he kept doing it. He says they decided to take in terminally ill children in the early 90s, because they knew that terminally ill children need love and homes, too, and that nobody else would do it.
There really is nobody else like Bzeek; the Department of Children and Family Services says Bzeek is the only foster parent in the country who willingly and readily signs on to take in children who he knows are going to die.
“The key is, you have to love them like your own,” Bzeek said to Branson-Potts. “I know they are sick. I know they are going to die. I do my best as a human being and leave the rest to God.”
Bzeek cares full-time for his foster children, who are too sick to care for themselves and require 24-hour attention, and the government gives him only about $1,700 a month. That’s not a lot to keep the lights on and food on the table for Bzeek, his foster children, and his biological son, Adam, a 19-year-old who was born with brittle bone syndrome, which meant his bones could be fractured by something as simple as a diaper change. Despite his physical difficulties, Adam is studying computer science, and he says he loves his foster siblings.
After Branson-Potts’ article came out in the LA Times, a GoFundMe campaign was started in Bzeek’s name. It has earned $141,000 so far. That should be a big help for Bzeek and his family. If anybody deserves it, he does.