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Compassion, donations pour in for patient who tweeted his loneliness

Supporters launch online campaigns to raise funds as visitors queue up

  • By Habib Toumi, Bureau Chief
  • Published: 12:30 May 12, 2014
  • Gulf News

  • Image Credit: Sabq
  • Visitors flock to see Ebrahim
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Manama: Donations and messages of compassion have poured in for a paralysed young Saudi man who tweeted his solitude in a hospital after his family failed to visit him for months.

Ebrahim, 24, felt so lonely in his hospital room in the Saudi capital Riyadh that he resorted to the Twitter microblog to express his frustration.

“You know? There is no one visiting me now,” he posted. “Not even my brothers or my father! The patients next to me have regular visitors, but no one comes to see me.”

In his second tweet, he urged people to pray for him.

“I have been paralysed for one year and a half at the King Khalid Hospital.”

In the next tweet, he wrote: “I wish those who know me and those who do not know me would come to visit me. I have become restless, just waiting for someone to visit me. My father and brothers had not visited me for three months.”

He later said that “when a patient is hospitalised for a long time, his family gets bored.”

“There is only my sister who visits me every Friday. My father is very old and my brother is a teenager who spends his time with his friends.”

In another tweet, he wondered: “Who will visit me if my father and brothers abandoned from me three months ago?”

Less than one hour after he posted his tweets, his room turned into a reception hall for the people who went to visit him. The room soon became too small to accommodate the growing numbers, local news site Sabq reported on Monday.

Several visitors offered messages of compassion, insisting they were the father and brothers he wanted next to him.

“We will not cut you off,” some said, quoted by Sabq. “All Saudis are your family now. They all support you.” Well-wishers had to queue up outside and wait for their turn to enter the room and talk with Ebrahim.

Alongside the messages of compassion and support, some visitors brought flowers and gifts.

On Twitter, some users launched a campaign to collect donations and raise funds for Ebrahim and for assisting him receive greater care.

One businessman, Yazid Al Rajhi, posted that he was donating SR100,000 (Dh97,900) while another, Khalid Al Ammar, called for a wide campaign.

“We should be able to raise SR2 million. Here I start with SR100,000. Who is next in making a donation?”

Online comments were as enthusiastic about supporting Ebrahim and other patients. Several remarks paid tribute to the “genuine fraternal sentiments that Saudis normally have.”

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