Parish supports family in visa limbo

Masoud Abdollah Pouri, his brother Edris and mother Fatemeh (The Catholic Leader)

A Brisbane parish has stepped in to support a family waiting for visa approval as they care for a disabled family member, The Catholic Leader reports.

Masoud Abdollah Pouri was once a sporting champion. Now the former member of Iran’s elite Thai kickboxing team is languishing in an aged-care nursing home in Brisbane’s northern suburbs.

He has a brain injury. He is unable to move most of his body and is in the constant care of his mother Fatemeh and younger brother Edris.

Masoud’s story is tragic, but the extraordinary devotion shown by his mother and brother is inspiring.

So too is the “care for the stranger” offered by one parish as the family waits for visas that would allow them to stay in Australia to care for their loved one.

After competing at the world Thai kickboxing championships in Bangkok in 2002, Masoud, 35, travelled to Australia and “defected” with three other members of Iran’s elite boxing team. With his sporting credentials, he was soon granted permanent residency and became an Australian citizen. He studied nursing and became a paramedic, as he continued a professional career as a kickboxer.

In early June 2013, Masoud’s middle-aged father died suddenly in Iran. About two weeks later in Brisbane, Masoud suffered a massive stroke. He was found on the floor at his rented apartment about 12 hours later and was rushed to hospital.

During that time his brain was starved of oxygen.

A fortnight later Edris, and soon after his mother Fatemeh, arrived in Australia to find their beloved Masoud in intensive care.

For almost four years they have kept a daily vigil providing constant care for Masoud, as he was moved to an acquired brain injury unit, and then to long-term residential care.

He has hypoxic brain injury, which has left him unable to speak, and his limbs motionless.

As the family waits for visas, cash savings are rapidly drying up but amidst the money worries, the visa uncertainty and the gruelling daily vigil of care, there has been a shard of light for Masoud’s family.

Members of the Parish of St Joseph and St Anthony, Bracken Ridge, have stepped in, providing a low-rent ($100 a week) three-bedroom home, donating furniture and clothes, and lobbying politicians to speed up visa applications.


Brisbane parish steps in to support mother and son in visa limbo caring for former kickboxing champion (The Catholic Leader)

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