The cancer-stricken Syrian civil engineer who touched hearts as "The Scientist" on the Humans of New York blog flew to Troy, Michigan, with four of his children as part of a United Nations refugee resettlement program on Thursday.
When told that a Hollywood star had helped raise $450,000 for him, the engineer told NBC News, "I didn't hear about it, but I want to thank him very much from the humanity perspective." Oscar-nominated actor Edward Norton was moved to tears after reading the refugee's biography on the photography site last week and launched the fundraiser.
The Scientist, who asked NBC News to refer to him as "Abu Ammar" to protect family in Syria, said his life was shattered by a bomb that killed his wife and daughter just under three years ago. He was later diagnosed with stomach cancer, and has had to care for five remaining children. For about two years, the family had been living close to destitution in Turkey.
Abu Ammar said he didn't know anything about the debate over Muslims and immigration raging in the U.S. and he didn't have a solution to the war raging in his home country, but said "as long as there are good people in the world, and everyone looks into his or her conscience, then we can stop this bloodshed."