Thursday, May 31, 2007

A Hero to All

June 1st is national Children’s Day in China….a day to celebrate the beauty and wonder of childhood. All across China there will be festivals and events to mark this very important day. To those of us at LWB, Children’s Day has an even deeper meaning to us. June 1st was the day that the world was graced by the birth of Dr. John Padilla, one of the most compassionate, humble, and generous men I have ever had the honor of meeting. John was on our very first cleft surgery team to China, where he touched the lives of 50 incredible kids. Tragically, a few months after that trip, he lost his life in a plane accident. All of us who were given the gift of working with him will never, ever forget his passion for children in need.

I know I have told this story before, but in honor of this great man I want to tell it again. In late 2003, when we were just a few months old as a foundation, I was approached by a medical team who said they wanted to set up a cleft mission to China. I never in a million years would have attempted something as complex as sending a team of physicians to a foreign country in our first year as a foundation, especially since my resume was one line long....."mom". But this medical group wanted to go, they told me they would handle it, and so I told them I would arrange a hospital. I flew to China in February of 2004, ironed out all the details with the hospital, signed a contract, contacted 12 orphanages to have them send children.....everything was set.

And then the unthinkable happened. Just two months before the mission, the team backed out. And we had children that we knew were from rural orphanages who would not get surgical care unless we came, and we had a signed contract with a hospital to pay for the surgery block time.....I had all of these photos of the kids needing surgery, and I knew we had little people counting on us to come.

It was an incredibly stress filled day. When someone tells you "are you sitting down?" you know it isn't good news, and that is what they said when they called to tell me they would not be going to China.

Phone calls flew back and forth between our board members as we agonized over what we should do. Should we cancel? Should we attempt this on our own? Where would we find doctors with just two months left when most mission trips are planned almost a year out? With each new phone call we had a different answer. It was was on....the kids needed us.....we couldn't handle this.

Finally I just went to my car and sat there and started crying. And I turned it all over to God. I said "if you want these babies healed, then we need a miracle”.

The very next day I received a phone call from Dr. John Padilla, who told me he had heard we were heading to China and if there was any way on a future trip he could go, he wanted to volunteer his services. He told me of how he had helped kids from Kosovo and Mexico and South America, and so I took a deep breath and said "could you go in eight weeks?" He laughed, said "let me call you back", and within an hour he had cleared his schedule and committed not only himself, but his surgical team. All at his own expense.

I cannot tell you how many times I called John in those eight weeks up to the trip. I was a mom....trying to organize an international medical mission.....and I would call him saying "what about customs?......what about sterilization of instruments? what about lighting and retractors?" and he would always kindly tell me it would all be okay.

The first day of the surgeries, it was very tense as we tried to figure out the schedule and who was on which surgical team, all in two different languages. While the whole team of doctors both from the US and China stood around in the chaos, John picked up the first baby and said "okay, let's go" and he walked back to the OR leaving all of us with our mouths open. But then we took a deep breath and hurried after him, knowing it was time to begin.

I never told him about praying for a miracle. I wish I had. To have been sent the gift of his surgical abilities in addition to receiving the gift of this man who LOVED kids and who won over an entire Chinese hospital staff with his easy going nature.....that was my miracle. Over and over he showed his true compassion. I remember one tiny baby girl that no one wanted to operate on. The local doctors said she was a lost cause because she was too sick and too tiny. And John looked at them and said "this is a human life and we have to try". That little girl has the most beautiful face now, and she began to thrive after she could eat properly for the first time. I believe with all my heart that he saved not only her smile but her life.

John had made a promise to me that he would travel every year to China, and he was working with us on coming up with a model to form a cleft center in China, providing free medical care so that parents would never have to make the agonizing decision to abandon a baby born with cleft. He talked about that dream with me on our second day in China. He kept saying "what if we tried this? what if we made a regional center?" and I kept saying "John, you have to realize that we are a small foundation and we pay all of our own expenses”. And he would smile that incredible smile and say, “Amy….dream big, dream big, dream big”.

Today as I write this blog, I remember a man who was truly one of my heroes. A man who loved children and understood that by giving from the heart, by stepping out of our comfort zone and taking risks to care about these tiny little faces that many of us only know in pictures.........we really can change lives and bring hope to children all around this earth. John lived his life believing that the only real failure was not trying. He believed with all his heart that if we just try, one life at a time, to show others that there is hope, and that others do care, that the world truly will be a better place.

Dr. Padilla, we will never forget all that you did for children throughout the world. Every baby that we heal through our John Padilla Cleft Fund is in your honor, and every child healed on one of our cleft missions carries a piece of your legacy.

“Dream big, dream big, dream big.” Oh John, I promise we're trying. Happy birthday, dear friend. We will never forget you.

Amy Eldridge


Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Future Doctor

We have a wonderful update to share about Chuan.

Now that his nerves have been separated from each other at the base of his spine, he has more feeling! His recovery is going very well.

But the best news of all is that Tingting had recently visited the Hangzhou orphanage in Zhejiang province, and she was so impressed with their school for older children that they have in the orphanage. The kids receive not only a quality education, but also much needed PT each day. Well, thanks to everyone working together to help this child, the orphanage director in Hangzhou has offered Chuan a spot in their school, and the orphanage director in Anhui has agreed that Chuan can be transferred there! When Tingting told Chuan that he could go to school, he was about to jump off the bed in joy. He said that he is going to study so hard so that someday he can go to medical school and become Dr. Bao’s neurosurgery assistant to help children like him!

We want to thank everyone for their prayers for Chuan. We are so excited that his operation was such a success and that he will now have the chance to get a good education. He has touched all of our hearts with his kind and always optimistic spirit.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Faculty meeting

When I was a teacher, I dreaded those meetings at the end of the school day. Somehow, they seemed to drag on too long and add work to my life. However, now I have a whole new picture in my mind of a faculty meeting. When four LWB Education volunteers traveled to our Believe In Me Too school in Hunan, we sat down with our teachers and SWI staff to talk about how school was going for them and for us.

What a great time we had. The teachers told us what a typical day for the kids is like. Each morning, the children arrive and sit at their desks. The teacher greets them and asks if anyone wants to sing a song or say something to the class. When a child volunteers, the teachers take the lead of the child to shape the learning of the day. We saw how the teachers used this child centered approach to teach writing and math. They also teach paper folding, drawing and dance. At the end of their morning, the children put on their shoes and go outside to play on the playground.

We had a great time presenting the teachers with gifts for their classroom. We gave them special safety scissors for children that cannot use their hands very well along with pencil grips and specially curved spoons. And, we gave them a big supply of bubbles to use with the children to help them learn to speak more clearly. All of these items will be used with the physical therapists who will soon visit this school to work with the children.

We asked the teachers how things were going and were delighted to hear from the SWI staff member who oversees the children that the orphanage nannies have commented on how much easier the children are to manage after having been in school. The kids are happy and more eager to listen. And, they are always ready for school in the morning. We were pleasantly surprised to learn that after a newspaper story about our school described our program, parents of special needs children from the surrounding city have been calling and asking how they can enroll their children in the orphanage school. What a compliment! Families are looking to the good things in an orphanage and wanting to participate in it.

The teachers are happy with how school is going and look forward to additional Montessori training this summer. They are always looking for new ways of teaching their students about the world that they live in…especially as we extend the school day for older children to morning and afternoon sessions next year. We talked about planting flowers or vegetables and they like that idea very much.

If I ever go back to teaching in the classroom and have to attend a faculty meeting, memories of this wonderful faculty meeting will remain in my mind and put a smile on my face.

Linda Mitchell

Saturday, May 26, 2007

The Indy 500 in China

From our Believe in Me Two school...... "ladies and gentlemen, start your engines!"
Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Another Chance

This is sweet baby Yi. And she is getting another chance at a healthy heart.
When she was originally evaluated, the hospital who saw her told the orphanage that her surgery was very complex and extremely expensive, and so the operation was not done.

We recently learned of little Yi, and immediately arranged to send her to Dr. Li in Hangzhou. She arrived very sick with a severe infection not only on her lungs, but also in her heart. This infection will have to be controlled before any surgery can be done, so she has been started on a month long course of IV antibiotics.

Yesterday Tingting and a friend traveled to Hangzhou to see little Yi in the hospital. Tingting wrote the following:

"Both Elfie and I are so in love with this baby already. I saw her pic from the medical page on our website a few weeks ago.. so I couldn't wait to find her when I got to the hospital today. she is darn cute!!! I think she likes me. She smiles everytime I look at her and whenever you put her in bed, she would try hard to crawl toward wherever I stand. She laughed about whatever noise I made and tried to learn the same noise, but ended up blowing bubbles from her mouth, which cracked me up!"

We are all praying that this beautiful little girl can be healed. We hope you will join us in those prayers. She has a wonderful aunty with her who obviously adores this child, and who has said she will stay in Hangzhou for as long as it takes to get her better. She told Tingting that since this baby almost died before and since she cares so much for her, she will do anything possible to make her healthy no matter how long it takes. We are always so thankful for such dedicated caregivers.

We need to raise an additional $2000 for this baby to cover the next month of hospitalization so that she can have a second chance at life. Thank you for covering little Yi in prayers. We will keep you updated on her progress.

Gator Smiles

There is an incredible group of college students at the University of Florida who have made a HUGE difference for kids with cleft. Dedicated to helping these children, they have named themselves, Gator Smiles.

In January, a very enthusiastic young lady named Stephanie established the club. She created this club after meeting twin girls from China who both had repaired cleft lip and palates. These two little girls were both healed on the first ever cleft trip that LWB organized in 2004. Their story touched her deeply and she saw how this surgery changed their lives forever. She just knew she wanted to do something to help, and Gator Smiles was born.

So far, Gator Smiles has had over 50 members join and they are continuing to grow. This group has worked so hard this past semester having collected over $3000 for cleft affected children. Their fundraising goals have been so ambitious and will now change the lives of over 7 children. Some of the activities that they have done to raise money include a bake sale, carwash, a penny wars, Home-Interior D├ęcor sales, a band party, a 5K walk/run, and a Pizza Hut end-of-the-year party.

Qing is one of the children that has now been changed because of their generosity and hard work. This beautiful baby boy was born with a unilateral cleft lip and palate. In April, he had his life changed forever and will now have a chance of finding a family of his very own. What a gift these college students have given this child!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Hope for Chuan

LWB first met Chuan at the beginning of the year. This 12 year old boy had been born with a spinal tumor, and sadly, his operation did not go well when he was a baby, and because of that he spends most of his time in a wheelchair.

We helped arrange for him to be transferred to Shanghai Children's so that Dr. Bao, the head of pediatric neurosurgery there, could examine him. The trip to Shanghai on the train was a hard one for him and his caregiver as neither had been that far away from home before, but our facilitator in Shanghai was so touched by how Chuan worried more about his aunty than himself, making sure she was doing well on the trip.

Chuan's surgery took place two days ago in Shanghai, and it was a very long and difficult one. In fact, it was such a long surgery that one of the OR assistants actually fainted in the middle of the case from standing so long. But at the end of the surgery, Dr. Bao shared the wonderful news that the original failed surgery had not destroyed Chuan's nerves. Instead, scar tissue had bundled them all together causing him weakness. Dr. Bao spent hours delicately separating each nerve, and he feels like the surgery went very well. We are all praying that this child will regain some of the strength in his legs following this operation.

Everyone who has met Chuan has been touched by his sunny disposition and ready smile. His life has not been easy at all, and yet he has learned to find joy in everything possible, such as the simple act of meeting someone new. We were all so humbled to learn that he said coming to Shanghai was one of the happiest days of his life because he was so grateful for even being given a chance at another surgery to be healed.

Chuan has been unable to go to school since he is in a wheelchair, but we are all praying he can become strong enough to attend school in the future. This determined and good natured young man has touched all of our hearts, and we would be so appreciative if you would join us in our prayers that he can begin to walk again.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Why Bid in our Online Auction?

Because this tiny baby girl needs heart surgery.

And by taking part in our art can play a part in saving her life.

Bid from your heart straight to hers.... and each time you look at the item you win, you can know that is far more than a painting or a quilt. It is true HOPE for children with heart disease.

So many little ones are waiting. You can be their hero! Thanks to everyone who donated the over 300 items currently listed in our "Born in My Heart" auction, and thanks to those who are mentioning it on their blogs and to family and friends, and bidding to give the gift of life. The auction ends May 23rd, so pick the item you want to win today (because some pretty special children will be the ultimate winners!)

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Believe In Me Too

Believe in Me Too

Today we visited the site of the Believe in Me Too School, at the ChangDe SWI. We were greeted with the children in their classrooms going over their morning lessons. Then we quickly disrupted their entire day as we were blowing bubbles, handing out stickers and bags of Kix. It is amazing how you can make a child smile with a bag of Kix.

What was amazing was the change in the children. They were bright attentive and so pleased to show us their room and what they could do. They were singing songs and showing us how smart they are. One comment that we heard over and over was that the children now listen. They are well behaved and are paying attention in class. They want to learn and so enjoy their classes. This is just music to our ears.

Whenever you visit an orphanage, there are children that just capture your heart. There is no shortage of this at ChangDe. There were 2 children that we just had to see, and even those of us who had never been to ChangDe before knew the children in a second. First, we ran into "the Assistant". You must remember him from last year. He was a featured player on our blog. What a sweet little boy. He was there shaking hands and making us all feel at home. His smile was truly contagious. At one point he took my hand and lead me to the second classroom, that had become much quieter. He pulled out a chair for me, put his right next to me. He then sat down and pointed to my bag of Kix. He wanted to have a snack in quiet. We sat there for a few minutes eating Kix and holding hands at times. When his friends would wander into the room, he would make sure that they too were given a supply of Kix.

We were so pleased to see "Rocky" when we arrived. He was in a cozy coupe just tearing around the place. Such a big and beautiful smile. He was very pleased to receive his own bag of Kix and was kind enough to share it with one of his younger classmates. "Rocky" is just amazing. He gets around so well and is able to keep up with the other children so well. He loved giving hugs. You really just want to scoop him up and hug the stuffing out of this precious child.

The children in Believe in Me Too are just thriving. They are smiling, learning, being creative and just generally doing so very well. None of this would have been possible without the fantastic sponsors of the Believe in Me Program. Because of you we are able to allow these children to have such wonderful experiences. In just a short year, we have been able to clearly see the changes in the lives of these children. Just imagine what the future can bring.

Pam Moore – Education

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Meeting the Babies in Fujian

Our traveling team in China right now is having a wonderful time discussing possible new schools with officials there. They are currently in the Fujian province, and we wanted to share some of their newest photos below:

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Team Education in China

When we signed on for a LWB Education trip to China, we didn't know the meaning of the word work! However, we quickly learned when we donned hard hats to visit a new orphanage being built in Fujian Province. We rolled up our sleeves and went right to the wheelbarrow.

What's wonderful about this particular orphanage is that space has been designated already for classrooms and a school. Our education team has had positive and productive discussions about what school for the children of this new CWI will look like. After our "hard labor" we enjoyed visiting the children in their current home with hugs, stickers and lots of cheerios. We were delighted to see almost 20 youngsters recently healed by LWB sponosed surgeries. They look great. They are healthy and so very lovable.

The orphange staff, Civil Affairs offical and mayor of the city have invited us to participate in a ceremony to celebrate the official "finishing of the roof" on the new orphanage tomorrow. The mayor and our team will be there to publically show our love and support of the children of this province who wait for loving families. We couldn't be happier with our welcome and experience in Fujian.
Linda Mitchell
Education Director

Monday, May 14, 2007

Helping the next generation

LWB has a foster care program in the Henan province, and the foster moms and dads are so loving and kind to the kids. This is the same program where the foster moms have a good natured competition going to see whose child has the chubbiest cheeks.

One of the little boys in our program, Jian, just wasn't getting as strong as we would like to see, and so the decision was made to move him to an in patient physical therapy program for two months to see if we could get him stronger. However, we needed to find someone to care for him who lived near the PT center. We were praying for someone very kind hearted, and we certainly were given just that. The staff at the PT center told us about a wonderful family who lived close by who would be willing to care for two children who needed intensive therapy. Then they explained that the foster mom had a 25 year old son who was born with cerebral palsy, and she had devoted her life to helping him do everything possible. He now lives on his own quite well, and she wanted to help more children have that same exact chance. So for the next two months, she will be Jian's PT momma, and she will take him to his treatment sessions and encourage him to reach for the stars as well.

Every child in the world deserves to have at least one person in their life who believes in them. We love knowing that little Jian has a kind hearted woman who believes he really can become stronger. There are people all around the world who never get their names in the news or who never even get properly thanked, but who are quietly making a difference. We are so grateful to this wonderful woman for helping Jian know how special he really is. We can't wait to see the progress he makes under her loving care.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Circle of Life

Recently a family who was waiting to adopt a little boy with repaired cleft lip in China got the phone call that no one should ever receive....they learned that their baby boy "Scotty" had developed severe pneumonia in the orphanage and had tragically passed away.

All of us at LWB were stunned at the news, as we had followed this little boy through his surgery and were overjoyed he had been chosen as a waiting child. It didn't seem possible that Scotty was now gone and our hearts ached for the family who would not get to hold him in their arms.

The very same day that we received this news, we received an email from Western China. A friend had written telling us about a very poor rural family whose only child, a little girl named Hua, was dying of heart disease. Her parents were farmers, and did not have the funds necessary for her surgery, and so they were slowly watching her get weaker and more blue. Hua had started having fainting spells each day, and her fingers were starting to club. Her parents knew she didn't have much time left. The friend who wrote me wondered if we could help her. I wrote back saying we would try our best, but that we had dozens of orphaned children in need of heart surgery as well, and I could not promise that a donor could be found.

That night I heard from the agency director who had matched the little boy Scotty with a family. She wrote saying that the agency wanted to do something to honor this little boy who never got to know a family's love. As I read her email, I realized that on this side of the ocean, we had an adoptive family grieving the son they could not hold, while on the other side of the ocean we had a grieving family watching their beloved child slowly die. I quickly wrote back and said that perhaps this would be a fitting tribute to allow this struggling, rural family to not go through the same grief of losing a child.

The Children's House International group quickly put out a plea on behalf of Hua, whom they nicknamed "Flower". And within just a few days, her surgery was completely funded in honor of baby Scotty. When we let my friend in China know that the child could be moved to the hospital immediately, the parents were in disbelief. They began to prepare for a 30 hour train ride to Hangzhou, but then another wonderful donor stepped forward to pay for them to fly, so that Hua wouldn't have to worry about fainting on the train. Within one day...they were safely in Hangzhou.

Hua's surgery went perfectly. The wonderful donors who sent funds for her surgery also sent cards and letters with get well wishes for her to feel better soon. There is no other way to describe it except to say there was an outpouring of love for this beautiful child. Just tonight, we heard that she is safely back in her home province, and that when it was time for them to leave to return home...that both the parents and Hua were crying tears of happiness. Hua has a new goal go to school and to learn. For the first time in her life, this is now possible for her. With her new healthy heart....her entire life is now before her.

Tonight as I looked at photos of Hua, first with her mom looking so worried, then on her first plane ride ever, and now healed and healthy, I once again had the words "Circle of Life" come to mind.

"It's the Circle of Life, and it moves us all. Through despair and hope, through faith and love.'

Despair and hope. Faith and love. Both the joy and sadness of life all intertwined. Through the ultimate despair of losing a son came a new and precious hope fueled by faith and love. Hua is now healed. She will grow up and go to school and be forever loved by her parents. I can think of no greater memorial to Scotty, and no greater example of the amazing circle of life.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Music to our Ears

The children in LWB Education are blessed by so many people. There are those that pray for the children in our programs, those that generously give of their finances to support our schools and those that work directly with the children. When we recently asked one of our monitors how she felt about working for LWB, she said:

"Frankly speaking, I love this job. Whenever I stay with the kids, I feel very grateful because I can do something for them, for the special children. And most important is I know what love is and how to love others. This is very crucial in my whole life."

Our monitor’s words were music to our ears. We are so pleased that in our school programs we are not doing “for” the children. Rather, we are working alongside compassionate, kind people all over China that have the best interest of the children in their hearts. Every single person that offers their prayers, financially supports our schools, or works directly in our programs makes a world of difference to each and every child. We can only continue because of kindness such as this.

Linda Mitchell
Education Director

Monday, May 07, 2007

Healing Hearts

Anyone who knows the history of LWB knows that our assistance in China started because of some very special children with heart disease. I can remember with exact clarity the moment that the doctor from my daughter's orphanage pulled me to the back wall of a baby room to see a tiny little boy who was blue. The doctor touched two fingers to his heart and then sadly shook his head, and I remember standing there feeling so completely and absolutely HELPLESS as I had no idea how to get him the medical care he needed. With my own heart beating a thousand times a minute as I tried to process that the child would not live without surgery, I then was taken to the toddler room, where the children were sitting down to eat their lunch. I kneeled down to hold the hand of a beautiful little girl, and when I looked at her face, I realized that she was even more blue than the baby boy...and her hands were like ice. She was so thin, and the doctor told me through a translator that she had severe heart disease and that the local doctors did not feel anything could be done for her. She had the most solemn face of any child I had ever seen, and the aunties told me that it was because just breathing took so much effort on her part. As I kneeled beside her holding that tiny was like time stood still for me. Would it be possible to help them?

Because of an incredible outpouring of support for these kids, we were able to heal not only the first two children with heart disease that I met in China, but even more. And the most wonderful part of it all to me is that the first children we healed are now adopted into the most loving of homes. I actually get to write back and forth with the little girl I first met, and each time I get a letter in the mail from her, I am overwhelmed with such gratitude to everyone who believed she could be made well, that I have to wipe away tears before opening the envelope. Her whole life was changed thanks to people taking the time to believe in her.

Many of you might also remember the story of Kui. She was the very first child with heart disease that we were unable to help because she was deemed "inoperable" by every heart surgeon who reviewed her file. I would stare at her photo and could not believe that a child at the age of 2 really could become inoperable. The human body is a powerful thing...with an incredible determination to live. When a child is born with heart disease and is struggling to get enough oxygen because of it, his or her body will do anything possible to live even one more day. Unfortunately, the very things a body does to try and survive lead to conditions such as pulmonary hypertension or collateral vessels between the heart and lungs, and these can make it impossible to perform surgery. Sweet baby Kui had such high pulmonary hypertension, even at the age of two, that nothing could be done. She passed away a few weeks after I learned of her in a loving foster home, and I struggled to make sense of the words, "we were too late".

Our foundation never wants to be too late again. And the orphanages we partner with understand now the importance of early intervention for children with severe heart disease. Because of this...the numbers of children with heart disease we are being asked to help has risen and risen and risen again. In 2006, over 100 children were helped. Incredibly, in just the first three months of 2007, we have already been asked to help provide heart surgeries to 75 orphaned children. While it is amazing to think that a child's life can be saved for just $5000....when you multiply that times 75 or 100 or even 200 children this year, we will need to spread the news of the children waiting.

I believe completely that our foundation has the absolute best heart surgery program in China. As soon as we hear of a child with heart disease now, they are sent for an echo, so we can know exactly when the ideal time for surgery will be. We use the top heart surgeons in China, and we only use those surgeons who treat children who live as orphans with complete respect and compassion. We have signed contracts with the hospitals we use and receive discounted prices due to the number of children we heal. We have our Heartbridge Unit in Beijing, and many foster care programs throughout China, in order for children recovering from heart disease to get the most individualized care possible. We ask every orphanage to file adoption paperwork as quickly as possible on the children we heal, so that every child is given not only the chance at life, but the chance of a family.
But the need is just so great.

On May 18th, LWB will hold its fourth annual Born in My Heart art auction to benefit children with heart disease. The items donated this year are spectacular, and while the auction is definitely a fun event, with lots of great bidding and friendly competition....its purpose is completely serious. Every penny raised during our heart surgery auction will go to heal orphaned children in China who were born with heart disease. Many times we hear of a child who may not survive if we have to wait to raise the funds needed for her surgery. The art auction funds allow us to move critically ill children immediately for their operations. The art auction funds TRULY save lives.

I encourage everyone to mark May 18th in red on your calendars, and let everyone you know hear about this wonderful event which will give the gift of life. We are hoping that when the auction goes live, that every supporter of LWB will take the time to post information on the heart auction on their personal blogs. The success of this auction depends on us spreading the news that it is happening. We truly need your help. I know for many people, it goes outside of their comfort zone to ever ask anyone for anything. Believe me I know this all too well, as it was a huge leap of faith for me to step out and ask people to help me heal the first few heart children. But I took a deep breath and dove in, and my life has never been the same since. I hope everyone reading this will take a deep breath on May 18th, and help us spread the news that there are children in need of heart surgery...children who might not make it without our help. We have a motto for the auction of "Be a Hero...Heal a Heart". Every person who has donated items, every person who places a bid, and every person who prays for these precious and wonderful children to receive the surgeries they need truly is a hero in our eyes.

THANK YOU for believing that by working together, we can truly change lives. I hope that everyone who wins an item in our auction will look at it forever and know they gave the gift of life to a child in need. May 18-23rd....five little days that will help some really amazing children have a lifetime of being healed.

Amy Eldridge

Friday, May 04, 2007

Kaifeng PT camp

Last weekend a physical therapy training camp was held in Kaifeng, Henan province for children in the orphanage and in foster homes. We are so grateful to Anhui Children's Hospital for allowing two of their top therapists to travel to Kaifeng for us to evaluate children and give recommendations on their care. Each foster family was given a piece of PT equipment, such as a peanut ball or boppy, to take home, as well as being given specific exercises to work on with their children. All the kids thought the peanut balls were very cool!

This is the first of three PT training camps being held this year for LWB. We have another camp coming up in June for the children in the Changde orphanage in Hunan, and then our largest camp to date (for over 100 children) will be held in July in Yunnan province. Six PTs and OTs are making their travel reservations to China now, and we know they will have an incredible journey. We are still in need of an additional pediatric PT for the June trip. If you would like more information on our PT camps, please email Bruce Sherman at

And in wonderful fundraising news....Nick and Lester have reached Scotland! You can follow their journey at