October 1st, 2009
10:05 PM ET

CNN Hero: Brad Blauser

Program Note: CNN Heroes received nearly 9,000 submissions from 100 countries. A Blue Ribbon Panel selected the Top 10 CNN Heroes for the year, and over 1 million of you voted for your CNN HERO OF THE YEAR

WATCH Change the World, You Vote, CNN Heroes
Tonight 11 p.m. ET


[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/meast/07/30/cnnheroes.blad.blauser/art.brad.blauser.jpg caption="Since 2005, Brad Blauser's Wheelchairs for Iraqi Kids program has distributed nearly 650 free wheelchairs."]

CNN Heroes

Brad Blauser lives in war-torn Baghdad, where he doesn't earn a paycheck and is thousands of miles from his family. But he has no intention of leaving anytime soon.

For the past four years, the Dallas, Texas, native has been providing hope to hundreds of disabled Iraqi children and their families through the distribution of pediatric wheelchairs.

"Disabled children - they're really the forgotten ones in this war," said Blauser, 43. "They are often not seen in society."

Blauser arrived in Iraq as a civilian contractor in 2004, but quit that job last year to devote himself full time to his program, without compensation.

"There's no paycheck. It's not really safe here. But this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," he said.

An estimated one in seven Iraqi children ages 2 to 14 lives with a disability, according to UNICEF. Illnesses such as Spina bifida, palsy and polio leave them unable to walk.

Keep Reading...

To learn about ways you can make a difference, visit Impact Your World.

Filed under: CNN Heroes • Impact Your World
soundoff (One Response)
  1. Lilian Bianchi LiaBia from Brazil

    It is admirable this man's dedication, but I think he was able to not only to help donating the wheel chairs but to try to reduce the number of children that they will need to use them. Through the information and of the prevention. In Brazil vaccination programs in mass reduce to zero the polio number and a research of Dr Margo Whiteford, consultant geneticist and chair of the Scottish Spina Bifida Association he accomplished a research that suggests that up to 75% of the cases of spine bífida could be avoided by the mother to take acid fólico three months before the conception and during the pregnancy.

    October 2, 2009 at 12:45 am |

Post a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.