Five-year-old Ammar Muhammed fell asleep curled on his father's lap. The blue tint of his skin matched his patient gown.

Ammad Muhammed carried his son all the way from Baghdad, Iraq, for a life-saving heart surgery at Medical University of South Carolina.

Ammar has Tetralogy of Fallot, a complex of four heart abnormalities that starves blood of oxygen, turning the boy's skin blue. One of the most common congenital heart defects, the syndrome is treated surgically in most affected U.S. children before their first birthday.

The East Cooper Breakfast Rotary Club secured a Gift of Life grant from Rotary International to pay for the surgery. Getting father and son to Charleston was the work of the U.S. Marines, who raised money in Iraq to pay for the airfare.

A lieutenant in the Iraqi police force, Muhammed worked side by side with the Marines. He befriended Maj. Kevin Jarrard, who upon learning of Muhammed's son, reached out to the East Cooper Breakfast Rotary Club for help.

Read Friday's Post and Courier for more details.