Local News

Deah Barakat's legacy lives on after tragic death

Posted August 20, 2015

— ​Deah Barakat, his wife Yusor Mohammad, and her sister, Razan Abu-Salha, died Feb. 10 after police say a neighbor, Craig Stephen Hicks, shot them at the couple's condominium in Chapel Hill.

Since their deaths, the families have found a way to honor the three students.

In 2014, Barakat, a dental student at UNC-Chapel Hill, made a video asking for donations to help him provide dental relief in Syria. A few months before the trip, Barakat was killed.

Now, his family has not allowed tragedy to destroy his dreams.

“Part of losing them is to not let them be gone in vain,” said Farris Barakat, Deah’s brother.

Since Barakat's death, his family has started The Light House Project. They plan to convert the 23-year-old's Raleigh rental property into a community center.

“We can do something where we can put this house to use even after he passes, and he can still reap the rewards,” Barakat said.

Barakat and his father recently returned from Syria to do the work Deah started for the Refugee Smiles Project.

So far, more than $500,000 has been raised.

Namee Barakat, Deah’s father, said the trip was beautiful but difficult.

“Very sad knowing that Deah and Yusor are supposed to be there and they're not,” he said. “The loss of Deah also still weighs heavily on Farris.”

Farris Barakat said he will continue Deah’s legacy of service and love.

“I could have taken more advantage of him, but I was sharing him with the world,” he said.

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  • Anne Havisham Aug 20, 2015
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    The original goal for the project providing "dental relief in Syria" was $20,000. As of the end of that project, according to the youcaring.com website, the total was $533,144.

    The same web site now has a link to the "Official Our Three Winners Trust."

    These young people's families and friends have invited others to continue the generosity that these three were exhibiting before they were stolen from us. They have collected thousands of cans of food for a local (and beyond) food drive, set up ongoing scholarships in their names, and have found ways to remind our communities of deep love even during a time of profound sorrow.

    Facebook users may want to find the pages for "Our Three Winners" and "The Light House Project" to contribute to the ongoing legacy of these three lovely young people, gone far too soon.