Oct. 28—Family and friends are urgently collecting donations to bring Fowsia Musse back to the U.S. for emergency medical treatment following serious medical complications.
On Tuesday, Musse was shot in the stomach and hip at an airport in Ethiopia while visiting family. She also suffered a broken leg.
Her younger sister, Juweria Subcis, a member of the Somali regional state parliament, died at the scene and Musse's 14-year-old son was also injured.
Musse, the executive director for Maine Community Integration in Lewiston, has since received multiple surgeries for her injuries and was moved to a larger hospital in Ethiopia's capital, Addis Ababa.
However, administrators at Maine Community Integration learned Friday morning that there have been complications with Musse's leg surgery and doctors are recommending amputation. The doctors have stabilized her leg to the best of their ability, but are only able to do so for 48 hours, they said. At that point, action will need to be taken.
Musse's daughter, Shadia Abdulahi, has set up a GoFundMe to raise money to help cover medical bills and travel expenses for her family. As of 5 p.m. Friday, the fund had collected more than $55,000 from 380 donors in less than two days.
But staff at Maine Community Integration say they will need far more money to hire an air ambulance to bring Musse back to New England to receive the best medical care possible. One service listed on the U.S. Ethiopia Embassy website told staff at Maine Community Integration they could provide the transport for about $200,000. Others were even more expensive.
With more advanced medical care in New England, they hope doctors may be able to save Musse's leg from amputation.
"We just don't want to start anything from there and do what the doctors there are suggesting," said Abdi Abdallah, the assistant director of Maine Community Integration. "We have seen, they will say, 'they have to be amputated, they have to do this,' and when they end up at places in Western countries, they are safe. They can save the leg."
"She's a fighter," she added.
The transport would not only bring Musse back to the U.S., but also her son and 8-year-old daughter, who was not injured.
In a prepared statement, Abdallah and Development Director of Maine Community Integration Elizabeth Haffey wrote, "A true survivor, she has channeled her experiences of profound childhood trauma into unwavering empathy and activism and committed her life to uplift Lewiston-Auburn's women and girls. Working with Lewiston immigrant moms and their daughters, she promotes civic engagement, girls' STEM education, and nature connection. She has helped thousands through her current role with MCI and her previous roles as a domestic violence and sexual assault advocate, cultural broker, community health outreach worker, and lead educator."
Other community leaders have also shared words of support for Musse, with many urging people to donate to her care.
"I am lost for words but what I will say is that Fowsia gave more of herself to this community than anyone I have ever met," Mana Abdi, who is running unopposed to become Maine's first Somali-American legislator, wrote on Facebook Thursday. "Please donate and let's bring her home."