There’s this little girl named Kate I’ve written about on several occasions last year. At 1 year and 3 months, she is only as small as an 8-month old baby. Kate has Down’s Syndrome and in need of urgent surgery to correct her congenital heart defects.
An open-heart surgery is very expensive here in the Philippines, even for charity patients. Angels have come forward, donating money for Kate’s cause, but still, the amount raised so far is barely enough.
Last December, Dinnah (Kate’s Mom) and I had an inspiration. We wrote to every politician and governmental agency we could think of. We have had very positive responses. For instance, Senator Gordon’s office called up Dinnah and pledged around P60t. The Office of the President and several other senators, even the Department of Health itself, wrote back informing Dinnah that they have referred her plea to the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes, which in turn, responded with a guarantee letter pledging P100t for Kate’s operation.
Kate’s future kept becoming brighter with each coming day, but the news that really filled her life with dazzling rays of hope was a call from the Department of Social Welfare & Development (DSWD) informing Dinnah that they have referred her to the Philippine Airlines (PAL) Foundation, which in turn, will refer Kate to Mending Kids International.
Mending Kids International is a non-denominational organization based in California whose goal is to save lives and bring donated medical care to needy children worldwide. They also “airlift” any child whose condition may be too complex to treat during a brief medical trip and has to be taken to the United States for extended treatment or multiple surgeries. The MKI brochure states:
“To date, children from over sixty countries have traveled to America forPresently, all the documents needed have been submitted and we are awaiting word that Kate’s application has been approved. We trust in God completely and we know that Kate will be going to America for her surgery.
donated medical care. Thousands of foreign children continue to benefit from
modern medical facilities and quality care that is simply unavailable in the
PAL Foundation is actively involved in this process. PAL will be flying Kate and her Mom to LA for free this year. I just know that!!!
We were informed that there will be housing for Dinnah once Kate is in the hospital. However, if Dinnah herself could find a family who is willing to volunteer as foster care family for Kate during their stay in the US, it would hasten the processing of her application considerably.
For this, another classmate of Dinnah, LilyAnne Nichols, and I have decided to combine our efforts in finding that foster family. We are tapping the resources of the Silliman Alumni Association in California – this is a very active group and have been known to host visiting Sillimanians who are in the US for a concert tour, for instance. Surely, they wouldn’t mind providing a roof to a needy child and her mother?
Whoever’s reading this, please help pray for our success and more importantly, for a brighter, healthier future for our sick baby.
About Mending Kids International ....
A NETWORK OF LOVE
Imagine if your child were born with a congenital heart defect, cleft palate or lip, missing a limb, or any number of life-threatening ailments. Suppose your child was injured or became seriously ill. What would you do? If you lived in the United States, chances are you would rush your child into a clean, sterile hospital for immediate treatment. But what if you lived in a country where the nearest clinic was miles away and hopelessly outdated?
At Mending Kids International we believe that children from all parts of the world are entitled to the quality care that is available here in the United States. When we send volunteer medical teams halfway around the globe to perform surgeries or to supply medicine to an ill or dying child, we are rewarded with the knowledge that we've literally provided that child with a new lease on life. Our volunteers are not only improving, but are saving precious lives every day, in all parts of the world.
Between 1994 and 2005, we operated under the name, Healing The Children California. In 2005, we became Mending Kids International. But our goal has always been the same: to save lives and bring donated medical care to needy children worldwide. We accomplish this through the generosity of volunteers - surgeons, pediatricians, nurses, host families, office and administrative staff - who recognize that healthy children are our future. We donate time, skills, money, resources, and above all, love, to ensure that every child has a chance for a better life.
Recognizing that God is the Great Healer and Maker of all Miracles, and that both individuals and organizations have the privilege and opportunity to become His hands, Mending Kids International endeavors to act as His vessel to bring healing to the sick and injured children of this world.
Mending Kids International is a 501(c) (3), non-denominational organization. Our children are served without regard to race, religion, creed, or national origin.
POINTS OF SERVICE
Childhood diseases and afflictions don't discriminate, and neither do we at Mending Kids International. Our reach extends to highly populated cities as well as secluded shantytowns. Our volunteer network serves urban cities and remote community - anywhere in the world where children lack acceptable medical care. On our trips abroad our goal is to identify and treat the greatest number of children possible. Over the years our medical teams have brought hope to the poorest communities, and continue to touch children from all walks of life. If, for instance, we get a call from a doctor in Guatemala who reports a population of children who need help, we will do our best to send a team of doctors to that area, regardless of how remote.
Whenever possible we try to assist in establishing medical programs in the foreign countries we visit. If facilities or time constraints prohibit us from performing a complicated surgery, we do our best to have the child airlifted to an American hospital.
Foreign Children Airlifted
When a foreign child has a condition that is too complex to treat during a brief medical trip, he or she may be "airlifted" to the United States for extended treatment or multiple surgeries. To date, children from over sixty countries have traveled to America for donated medical care. Thousands of foreign children continue to benefit from modern medical facilities and quality care that is simply unavailable in the homelands.
WHO MAKES IT POSSIBLE?
When surgeons scrub up for a surgery on one of MKI 's children, the only pay they receive is a sweet child's smile. As many of the children we treat have life-threatening heart problems the cost for these intricate surgeries can skyrocket to close to one hundred thousand dollars. Motivated by their inner drive to heal, our doctors donate not only their skills but have also been known to spend the night at the bedside of a child who is having a particularly difficult time.
When medical personnel participate on a medical trip, they absorb the loss of income and often forego vacation time. Beyond money and time, the trips involve the personal sacrifices of leaving spouses and families for extended periods. As one doctor said, "The results are our reward." Dr. Ferry, pediatric cardiologist at Cedars-Sinai Hospital adds, "I think this is nothing short of a miracle."
The generous donations from various service and civic groups such as Rotary, Maydayers, Airline Ambassadors or The Fraternal Order of Shriners, have made it possible for Mending Kids International to continue its efforts to save lives all over the world.
Clearly, health care reform is one of the most pivotal issues of our time. But despite rising health care costs, hospitals in the U.S. have managed to make room for needy MKI children from all over the world. We are constantly encouraged by the generosity of American hospitals and their staffs. In addition to donating hospital rooms and equipment, hospital administrators and staff continue to demonstrate a genuine concern for the welfare of children who are terrified and often in pain when they arrive for surgeries and other treatment. These individuals have gone out of their way to provide top-quality care and life saving support, despite the fact that their efforts go unpaid. Unpaid but not unrewarded.
Offering the warmth and nurturing of a loving home, the licensed host families of Mending Kids International support the child through the ordeal of their surgeries. The host families, despite considerable economic and emotional sacrifices, open their hearts and homes to complete strangers, often for months at a time. But the sacrifice is small compared to the joy of sending home a healthy child. In their own words, our host parents tell us, "You just can't help but fall in love with these kids."
In addition to supplying food, clothes and incidentals, host families act as surrogate families, giving the children emotional and moral support in and out of the hospital. Our host families come from all walks of life, but they have one thing in common-they would not turn away from a child in need.
Probably the most difficult part of being a host family is when the time comes to say good-bye. They take comfort in the knowledge that these children have families who love them and anxiously await their return. How strong a parent's love must be to send their child off to a foreign place, to unknown people in the hopes of a better life. How strong a host family's love must be to endure the process of a child's surgery, the doctor's visits, the healing, the growing to love this little person, only to say good-bye. Good-bye to a child with a long healthy future ahead.
Without volunteers, Mending Kids International could not exist. Fortunately, the volunteers of Mending Kids International are the heart that keeps this organization running. Our team loves children and our spirit is infectious. The beauty of Mending Kids International is that everyone can make a difference. While doctors, nurses and other medical professionals donate their valuable skills, hospitals, administrators, travel coordinators and other volunteers handle logistical details and paperwork.
Donations of time, services and money are the life-blood of any non-profit organization. At Mending Kids International we survive on donations. Medical equipment considered outdated in the United States can be a life-saving instrument to a poor, developing nation. Sutures, antibiotics and syringes, all common place pharmaceutical goods can be hard-to-find commodities in foreign countries. Perhaps our greatest challenge is obtaining funds, which are used to send medical teams to lesser- developed countries or to bring children to this country for life saving surgeries.
HOW CAN YOU HELP?
Mending Kids International is made up of people like you. People who care enough to ask, "What can I do?" There are many ways that individuals, as well as companies, can assist the volunteers of MKI.
Of course, Mending Kids International needs money. The number of children we can help is in direct proportion to the funds we receive. Any monetary donation is helpful, whether a small personal donation or a corporate grant. Given the volunteer structure of our organization, your dollars are directly available for the children and their medical needs.
We need volunteers who are willing to become licensed foster care families for the children who come to the United States for medical treatment. Almost every child has different needs and it takes a special family to care for a child who is sick, frightened and unfortunately does not speak English. Although the families do not receive any money, Mending Kids International serves as a support network to help with the emotions and logistics involved with hosting a child.
We need medical professionals, such as doctors, nurses, medical technicians, and others willing to donate space and staff time, as well as surplus and used equipment. We need hospitals willing to open their doors to children who have no chance in their own world.
We need airline personnel willing to use their off-duty time to escort children to and from their country. We need donated frequent-flyer tickets, used for both children and medical/staff transportation.
We need civic and church groups as well as individual volunteers to sponsor children or join our fundraising efforts. Many times a small donation of time, service or products to our fundraising events can make a tremendous difference in their success.
We need volunteer office staff to help keep the paperwork generated by our work flowing and efficient.
Above all else, we need your prayers for our children. Through the power of prayer we experience both big and little miracles everyday.
MENDING KIDS INTERTIONAL
24961 The Old Road, Suite 104
Stevenson Ranch, CA 91381