PORTLAND — Now that her 14th surgery is done, Noora Afif Abdulhameed is looking forward to the things that would excite any 9-year-old.

During her next two or three weeks in Maine, she hopes to sled in the fresh snow, go out for dinner and possibly even spend time on a playground or ride her new bike, weather permitting.

“Just fun” is how Noora described her plans Friday afternoon as she settled in with her father at the Ronald McDonald House after checking out of Maine Medical Center.

Noora, who lives in Hit, Iraq – a city on the Euphrates River northwest of Bagdad – was shot in the head by a sniper in 2006. Still missing a piece of her skull two years later, she first came to Portland to have a prosthetic section of skull inserted.

Subsequent surgeries have corrected other problems. Her latest two procedures were to cover the artificial skull.

In November, Dr. John Attwood inserted two balloon-like devices under the skin on Noora’s head. Fluid was inserted into the devices regularly to inflate them slowly and stretch the skin.

On Thursday, Attwood grafted the extra skin that was produced onto the portion of Noora’s head where the prosthesis was fitted, said Susi Eggenberger of Arundel, who has helped handle Noora’s trips and care in Portland for the group No More Victims.

Eggenberger said Noora’s final operation is expected to be done next year in New York, where a surgeon has volunteered his time – as did the doctors in Maine – to perform a hair transplant on Noora.

Eggenberger is still raising money to pay for visas, prescriptions and travel costs. Maine Medical Center and volunteer nurses and doctors took care of all of the hospital bills, she said.

There are still a few travel costs to pay, Eggenberger said, and if any excess money is raised, it will be sent back to Iraq with Noora and her father to cover some of the family’s medical bills there.

Noora will have some follow-up appointments with doctors in Portland over the next week or two. Those check-ups will determine when she leaves to go back home.

Eggenberger said Noora may not come back to Portland, but the two won’t lose touch. They expect to get together next year in New York, then Eggenberger hopes to be able to go to Hit to meet the rest of Noora’s family.

“We’re friends for life,” Eggenberger said. 

Staff Writer Edward D. Murphy can be contacted at 791-6465 or at: [email protected]