Several weeks ago, United Hatzalah volunteer EMT Rania Abu Shaba’an stopped at the Azrieli Mall in Modi’in to have lunch with her daughter. While walking to the food court, she heard a woman screaming for help. Rania ran towards the source of the screams and found a mother and her 5-year-old son, whose face had turned completely blue after he had choked while eating lunch. The woman was crying and asking for help from people in the vicinity.
Rania introduced herself as an EMT and asked for permission to attend to the child. “Initially the mother, a religious Jew, seemed reluctant to let me, a religious Muslim, treat her child,” Rania recounted after the incident. “To reassure her, I showed her my daughter to let her know that I am a mother too and my only goal is to save her child’s life. It seemed to help so I brought the child closer to me and initiated the lifesaving procedures. ”
The volunteer performed the Heimlich maneuver, pressing on the child’s lower abdomen. After several attempts, a piece of food flew out of the young child’s mouth and his face regained its normal color as he started to breathe again. Rania checked the child to make sure he was out of danger and handed him back to his mother. The mother, still crying, hugged the first responder, thanking her profusely for saving her child’s life.
Rania reflected on the incident and said: “Receiving a hug from the mother, a religious Jewish woman, was a gratifying and moving experience for me as a religious Muslim. Moments like this can help us all realize that no matter our identities, we can all live together in this country.”
On Sunday, Rania, a Jerusalem resident, received a Certificate of Excellence from the Mayor of Jerusalem for her lifesaving activities throughout the years, together with five other United Hatzalah volunteers and a dozen others from various emergency services organizations.
President and Founder of United Hatzalah Eli Beer spoke about Rania’s dedication and her relentless efforts to help those around her. “Rania is a shining example of what it means to be a United Hatzalah volunteer. Her recent rescue of a young Jewish boy in Modi’in is just one example of how she is making the world a better place. Her continued dedication to helping others, both people in her community as well as those beyond its borders, regardless of who those people in need of help are, is what United Hatzalah is all about. The readiness and willingness to help complete strangers, regardless of race, religion, or nationality, is what makes our volunteers like Rania so special. I wish to personally congratulate her on the rescue, and on receiving the award for her years of dedicated service to saving the lives of others.”
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