How Edward Norton Helped A Syrian Family Start A New Life In America

Photo: Noam Galai/Getty Images.
Never underestimate the power of crowdfunding for a good cause.

When Edward Norton saw a Humans of New York story about a Syrian refugee known as "The Scientist," the actor was so moved by the man's story that he launched an online fundraiser for the man's family. The Syrian man asked NBC News to refer to him as "Abu Ammar," to protect the privacy of his family members who are still in Syria.

Ammar's wife and a daughter were killed by a bomb in Syria about three years ago. Ammar, along with four of his five other children, moved to Troy, MI, on Thursday, as part of a U.N. resettlement program for refugees. In addition to losing his wife and daughter, Ammar has been diagnosed with stomach cancer, NBC News reports. Norton hoped the crowdfunding effort would help cover Ammar's medical bills.

"This man has suffered profound loss that would crush the spirit of many people, and yet he still passionately wants a chance to contribute positively to the world," Norton wrote on the Crowdrise page he created. The fundraiser has raised more than $448,000 for Ammar's family.

Norton wasn't the only public figure to express support for the refugee, either. President Obama wrote that Ammar and his family "are an inspiration" in a comment on the Humans of New York Facebook post describing Ammar's story. "Welcome to your new home," Obama wrote to Ammar.

Ammar, for his part, was humbled by the experience, telling NBC News, "There are people outside who need that money much more than me."
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