We know from experience that popular photoblog Humans of New York more than just documents people's lives. It is an increasingly prominent change agent, which transforms lives as its founder Brandon Stanton travels the world.
As part of its 'Syrian American' series, HONY recently profiled a man who has come to be known as the Scientist.
The Scientist is a prolific inventor and engineer who lost his home and several members of his family in attacks in Syria two years ago. He relocated to Turkey, where he couldn't get a job and was denied medical treatment when he discovered that he had stomach cancer.
Read his full story below:
The Scientist's heartbreaking story moved Stanton's followers to action.
Hollywood actor/director Edward Norton launched a crowdfunding campaign, through which he has so far raised over $380,000 for the Scientist's cancer treatment and rehabilitation in America.
Norton wrote on the crowdfunding site, "I saw this story on one of my favorite sites, Humans of New York, and it moved me to tears. This man has suffered profound loss that would crush the spirit of many people and yet he still passionately wants a chance to contribute positively to the world. If we don’t welcome people like this into our communities and empower his dream of making an impact with his life, then we’re not the country we tell ourselves we are. Let’s reject the 'anti-human’ voices that tell us to fear refugees and show this man and his family what Americans are really made of. Let’s show that a country built by the energy and dreams of immigrants still believes in brave people who come here with hope for better life."
Meanwhile, another HONY follower, Daniel Kang, independently raised $12,000 for Scientist's medical treatment.
American president Barack Obama also welcomed the Scientist to America and called him and his family "an inspiration":
While the crowdfunding's still ongoing, this instance of collective charity also drives home one reason why counter-narratives are important: it reminds us that the world's not all doom and gloom and fellow humans are willing to lend a helping hand.