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US issues ‘last-minute visa’ to Maria desperately in need of surgery

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ISLAMABAD: The US Embassy in the federal capital finally issued a last-minute visa to Maria, an ailing six-year-old girl from Rawalpindi desperately in need of surgery in the United States.

Shahidullah, the father of Maria, said his family was ‘so happy’ after hearing the news and thanked friends and supporters world over who helped them.

Maria’s father, who owns a shop selling blankets in Rawalpindi, campaigned for nearly four years seeking treatment for Maria, who suffers from a genetic disorder known as ‘Morquio Syndrome’ in which the vertebrae compress the spinal cord.

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A rare genetic disease has already left Maria’s frail body wracked with pain and stunted her growth. But, a US hospital has offered to perform a surgery for free that could significantly improve Maria’s quality of her life.

The surgery in the US was scheduled for November 2 by the hospital and Shahidullah was pleading with anyone to listen to Maria’s different case.

Previously the American Embassy in Islamabad had twice refused to give the family visas to travel to the United States.

The frustrated and frightened father also turned to an American lawyer, Facebook and the media for help, starting a campaign he said could be his daughter’s last resort.

When he last submitted a visa application again, he was told it will “take time,” however, the US embassy on Tuesday announced the visas for Maria and her parents were approved.

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