Cornwall

Cornwall stranger funds Yemen girl's tumour operation

Rufa and Luke
Image caption Luke Judge said he spent £25,000 of his own savings on helping pay for Rufa Fahmi's treatment

A stranger organised and helped fund a life-saving operation for a girl with a brain tumour who lives more than 3,500 miles (5,630 km) from him.

Luke Judge, from Cornwall, learned of Rufa Fahmi's plight after meeting her uncle while volunteering in Greece.

Mr Judge, 34, said the 11-year-old, who previously raised money for cancer patients in Yemen, needed surgery urgently.

He spent £25,000 of his own savings to fund treatment in Paris.

Mr Judge said her story had "inspired" him.

'Always smiling'

"When Rufa was nine years old she raised $2,000 (£1,400) for cancer patients in Yemen by selling her paintings.

"So for [her] not to get treatment after raising that sort of money was just too much to walk away from," he said.

Image caption Mr Judge met Rufa Fahmi's uncle while volunteered helping refugees in Greece

Mr Judge, from Hayle, said hospitals in Yemen did not have the resources to manage Rufa's condition.

He secured a visa for the youngster to be treated in Paris after pooling his life savings and raising an additional £10,000 by calling on "everyone in my network - doctors, politicians and businessmen."

"She's been discharged from hospital, is learning to walk again, is learning to eat properly and getting some strength back before her next operation," he said.

Image caption Mr Judge said though the conversation is limited, Rufa is "always smiling and waving"

"We have limited conversation because we don't speak a common language.

"She's always smiling, waving and you can tell she's full of love and energy. She's so inspiring."

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