It’s Wednesday morning and in five days, the 2012 Cleft Medical Exchange will commence surgeries for almost 50 children at Kaifeng Children’s Hospital in Henan Province. While I’m excited, my more overwhelming emotion is nervousness. I have been involved with Love Without Boundaries for eight years, but this is the first time I’m traveling on a medical trip. Performing 50 surgeries in a week is a daunting task in a familiar environment, but one can imagine the logistical issues of doing this from 5,000 miles away, in a state of the art, yet unfamiliar hospital, with many of the children arriving from hundreds of miles away. But therein lies the heart of why I adore LWB, and why I am honored to be associated with this wonderful organization.
LWB has always viewed difficult situations as challenges, not problems. These trips never go off exactly as planned; by definition, they can’t. The trips are hard, and one change can cascade into a waterfall of logistical challenges that need to happen on the fly. But it’s always amazing to look back at what was accomplished. Since 2004, LWB has performed nine Medical Exchanges, healing almost 400 children, and in doing so, exponentially changed lives around the globe. It’s accomplished by a tireless team of worldwide volunteers who always seem to find solutions to the implausible, by the dedicated employees in China who not only think, but live LWB’s motto that “every child counts,” and of course it happens due to the amazing doctors and surgeons that give their time, skill, and devotion. Mother Teresa said, “we can do no great things – only small things with great love.” I’d not-so-humbly pose that, as we have worked together as an organization, we have done great things for the children we serve, as well as for the people they will inevitably touch throughout their lives.
I hope to update the LWB community on the trip as it happens via this blog and show you, in pictures and words, our vision statement in action, that “we provide the most loving and compassionate help possible to orphaned and impoverished children in China, and to show the world that every child, regardless of his or her needs, deserves to experience love and be treated with dignity and care.
~Chris Ingoldsby, LWB board member and treasurer. Chris has been involved with the organization since 2004.
To see the list of children still in need of sponsorship, please visit our Cleft Exchange web page.