back to top
World

Syrian Refugee Featured On Humans Of New York To Attend State Of The Union Address

Dr. Refaai Hamo, whose story touched millions when it was posted on the popular Facebook group, will be a guest of First Lady Michelle Obama.

Posted on

A Syrian refugee who was featured on the hugely popular Humans of New York group will attend President Barack's final State of the Union address.

Refaai Hamo, a scientist, will be a guest of First Lady Michelle Obama at the address Tuesday.

Hamo, who has cancer, landed at Detroit metropolitan Airport with his son and three daughters in December. The family fled from Syria after a missile attack killed Hamo's wife and one other daughter.

The family are seeking a new start in Michigan.

Dr Hamo's story has been viewed millions of times.

Facebook: humansofnewyork

In the interview with Humans of New York — which took place in Turkey before the family arrived in New York — he told how he was in constant pain from cancer that had gone untreated because he lacked health insurance.

Advertisement

After reading about his plight, actor Edward Norton set up a fundraiser for the family.

Facebook: humansofnewyork

More than $450,000 was raised for Dr Hamo.

Facebook: humansofnewyork

Soon Obama saw the posts and welcomed the family to the United States.

Facebook: humansofnewyork

The White House announced Dr Hamo would attend the State of the Union address in this video posted on Facebook.

Facebook: video.php

Other guests include several veterans and service members, including one of the three Americans who thwarted an attack aboard a Paris-bound train.

Humans of New York creator Brandon Stanton told the New York Daily News he was "very happy Dr. Hamo has been selected to represent the refugee population."

"Refugees are foremost looking for security, normalcy and a chance to contribute," he said.

"I think Dr. Hamo represents this ethic well, and I think it's very fitting that he's being honored."

Alicia Melville-Smith is a homepage editor and reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Alicia Melville-Smith at alicia.melville-smith@buzzfeed.com.

Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.