February was quite the month for Dunia Sibomana of Long Beach.
On Feb. 2, he was adopted by Long Beach Middle School wrestling coach Miguel Rodriguez.
On Feb. 13, the 14-year-old eighth-grader won a Nassau County wrestling championship.
And on Feb. 26, Dunia won all four of his matches on his way to the 102-pound New York State wrestling title.
After getting to know Dunia and his story, you might say nobody is more deserving of such a month.
That’s why Greater Long Island decided to tell his story.
“It’s an incredible story of survival and resiliency,” said GLI’s editorial director Nicholas Esposito.
Just watch below.
When Dunia was just 6, he and his brother and cousin were attacked by chimpanzees while playing in the jungle of the Congo.
His brother and cousin were killed. Dunia survived, but suffered horrific injuries to his lips and face.
Two years later, he arrived on Long Island for the first of his 14 facial reconstruction surgeries.
Greater Long Island interviewed Dunia, his adoptive father, Dunia’s plastic surgeon and others in an effort to illustrate his journey.
“The first thing I noticed was how likable Dunia was.” said Greater Long Island photojournalist Andrew Theodorakis. “Then I saw him wrestle and knew he wasn’t going to lose.”
GLI’s Jamie Stuart said Dunia’s story is the most remarkable one he’s covered in his 20 years in the business.
“From where he came from to where he is now is nothing short of incredible,” Stuart said. “And incredible is how I would describe not only his attitude, but his new Long Beach family.
“I’m thrilled we told this story.”