Iraqi teen's take on violence in the Middle East

It will be 10 years this July since now 15-year-old Teeba Marlowe came from Iraq to Concord Ohio, scarred and scared...but a survivor. Now she watches headlines out of the Middle East, thinks of her family, her roots, still there. Now Teeba is gearing up to help other kids caught in the chaos of the Middle East.  

Tiny Teeba was just a year old that day in Iraq when her dad was driving to Baghdad. "That's when we ran over an IED bomb. All I know is I was in the hospital blinded for days and my brother died," Teeba recalls. 

At 5-years-old, Teeba came to Cleveland and has grown up here since 2007 with 2 more parents, Tim and Barbara Marlowe. 19 painful cosmetic surgeries later, Teeba is a confident 4.0 GPA American 8th grader, who is still very proud of her Iraqi roots. 

Teeba reconnected recently with her family in an emotional reunion, 9 years in the making. It was a bond with her birth mom that made her heart sing. "Just 2 weeks later, she was injured by a suicide bomb," Teeba says. 

So when she views sickening, almost surreal images out of Syria; of children the same age as her Iraqi siblings, she says, "It just hurts to watch." News of U.S. attacks on ISIS in Afghanistan has her thinking of her own brother who died in the same attack she survived. 

Understandable then, when Teeba Marlow hears 'ISIS'..."I---think of death,” she says. That from this aspiring pediatric anesthesiologist who wants to someday SAVE LIVES as a Doctor Without Borders in Iraq. Today, she is rooted in gratitude in the USA. 

"I wake up here and first thing I know is I’m safe. I can dance whenever I want here. I can sing. I can walk our dog Becca in our neighborhood. The opportunities here are incredible. I feel like everyone has a chance here. 

In a place like Iraq, my sister won't probably be able to go to college or even high school and she won't get to be a doctor. My mom is very scared there. There is nowhere you can go there to be safe. That's a part of the world that needs prayers and help. Knowing my family is over there, I can do nothing but pray and hope for the best." 

The Marlowes will be heading to Virginia in May for the "In their Shoes 5k" to benefit Iraq's most vulnerable children: street kids, orphans and those displaced by ISIS. "I owe it to them and I am paying it forward," says Teeba. 

by Dawn Kendrick
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