Sara Abdolmaleki is 22-year-old who lives in in Tehran, Iran. She is a member of Iran’s national women’s rugby team.
Abdolmaleki was involved in a car crash in January while driving home. She survived, but was told she would need an operation on her spinal cord if she wanted to walk again.
According to Middle East Eye, the woman's initial hospital bills cost around $34,000 — far more than the family could afford.
A fan of Iranian rugby brought Abdolmaleki's situation to the attention of Iranian screenwriter Mehrab Qasemkhani. Qasemkhani is a prominent social media user and has over 800,000 followers on Instagram.
Qasemkhani shared a photo of Abdolmaleki to his account along with the family's bank details, asking fans to donate.
The next day, he posted another photo, writing that users had donated close to $70,000, allowing all of the athlete's medical bills to be covered.
The campaign attracted the attention of various Iranian celebrities. Abdolmaleki was visited by Iranian football star Ali Daei.
And Shahram Mahmoudi, a famous Iranian volleyball player.
Two weeks ago, Qasemkhani shared a video to his Instagram of Abdolmaleki thanking all of those who have helped her.
Abdolmaleki's father told Middle East Eye the family was incredibly grateful for the help they've received.
"We never thought people would help us this much," the father wrote. "Even Iranians living in other countries called us to help our girl. I'm getting a lump in my throat right now when I'm talking about the kindness of people."
"In the first hours after the accident we were told that the doctors believed she was dead," he said. "So we are thankful to God. Now we are hopeful that our daughter will get back on her feet and play rugby again."
Rachael Krishna is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.
Contact Rachael Krishna at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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