Today you get two stories in one...1) a preview of one of my very favorite items from the upcoming "Born in my Heart" art auction, and 2) the story of a very special child.
First the child: our beautiful Jia. Born with an incredibly complex heart defect (actually a number of defects), Jia had a very rocky start in life. We first learned about her in November of 2006, and quickly were able to arrange a first-stage heart surgery to try and save her life. The surgery was a success, but left Jia very weak and fragile. We moved her to our Heartbridge Rehabilitation Unit in Beijing, where we could give her the very best care, and she would have the greatest chance for recovery. Jia's heart was so weak...her doctors and caregivers did everything they could for her, but had little hope that she would survive. And yet by some miracle, Jia pulled through, she is one tough little cookie!
Now on to the painting: The summer after Jia's surgery, we began to look for an artist who might be willing to paint a portrait of one of our "LWB kids" for the next art auction. We found a wonderful portrait artist named Leila Ashton, who very graciously offered to donate her time and talents to create a custom oil painting to benefit our heart kids. With plenty of time to create the painting, now we just needed to find a subject...
And of course that brings us back to Jia! One of our volunteers in China is a very good photographer, and we sent him to a number of orphanages to photograph possible subjects for our painting. When I saw Jia's picture for the first time, I knew we had found our girl! So more photos were taken, and the painting was begun.
Soon after, Jia was diagnosed with irreversible pulmonary hypertension, and she was placed into palliative (end of life) care in October. We wanted her to at least know the love of a good foster family, for whatever time she had left in this world. All the volunteers and supporters, everyone whose life had been touched by this little girl, were heartbroken.
Now comes the amazing part...Jia apparently has an angel on her shoulder. She has a very special angel in her corner anyway, someone who arranged for her to come to the US for once last chance at healing. Any day now she will be traveling, perhaps even during our art auction. How is that for timing?!
The painting was just completed last week, and we wanted to give you a little preview. The title is "Jia: Portrait of Hope." I would like to invite you read the rest of Jia's story, and perhaps bid on this incredible painting in the upcoming auction. Our auction will begin Thursday, April 24th, with items starting to launch at 9:00 am Pacific Time. Bidding will end Tuesday, April 29th.
More importantly, I would like to ask you to join us in sending positive thoughts and prayers to this special little girl, as she and her foster momma make the difficult journey for surgery. Please be a part of Jia's story of hope and healing! Thank you.
Art Auction Coordinator