Last week, the popular Facebook page Humans of New York posted the story of a Syrian refugee who was relocating to Troy, Michigan.
The man’s heart-wrenching story had also recently caught the attention of President Barack Obama, who posted a sweet welcome message for the refugee.
However, Obama wasn’t the only one who was moved by his tragic life. After coming across the post on Facebook, Hollywood star Edward Norton emailed the photographer of HONY, Brandon Stanton, asking if he could host a fundraiser for the scientist in Tuesday’s story.
Stanton immediately replied in the positive saying: “Of course Edward Norton. Also, you were awesome in Birdman. Also, let’s hang out.”
The refugee, who remains unnamed, is known as “the scientist.” Speaking to HONY, he talked about how he lost his wife, daughter and other family members in a missile attack in Syria. He now suffers from cancer and has two children who are living as refugees in Turkey. Despite all that he and his family have been through, the man still had so much hope in his eyes as he talked of wanting to go to the United States and patent several inventions he has come up with.
"I just want to get back to work. I want to be a person again. I don’t want the world to think I'm over. I'm still here," he said.
A CrowdRise fundraising page set up for the Syrian man and his family raised more than $382,000 so far. Norton also left a post on the site, part of which read: “If we don’t welcome people like this into our communities and empower his dream of making an impact with his life, then we’re not the country we tell ourselves we are. Let’s reject the 'anti-human’ voices that tell us to fear refugees and show this man and his family what Americans are really made of. Let’s show that a country built by the energy and dreams of immigrants still believes in brave people who come here with hope for better life.”
Norton’s post shows how people can help out asylum-seekers individually in the wake of anti-refugee rhetoric being fueled by politicians such as Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump.