Jerome: Let Love Shine
This week marks the start of our annual giving campaign, and this year’s theme is Let Love Shine. Over the next six weeks, we want to share with you some of the beautiful stories of hope which your kindness have made possible. Today we’d like to introduce you to baby Jerome, who is currently brightening the halls of our Heartbridge Healing Home.
Jerome was born with Down Syndrome, and when his orphanage called us for help, he was in critical condition needing urgent heart surgery to survive. This tiny newborn was suffering from malnourishment and dehydration, and doctors warned us that Jerome might not make it.
After spending almost a month in the hospital battling infections, Jerome was finally able to undergo open-heart surgery. We were overjoyed when he was able to come off the ventilator a few days later, but we knew he still had a long way to go for full health. I remember getting this photo and thinking his bandage was almost as big as he was!
Jerome was released from the hospital and came to stay with us at our Heartbridge Healing Home. He was so weak that he couldn’t even cry. The nannies said they could feel every bone when they held him. They are pros at nutritional rehabilitation, however, and so I knew he certainly was in excellent hands.
I was able to visit Jerome soon after he came to stay in LWB care, and I couldn’t believe just how tiny and fragile he felt in my arms. But his fighting spirit was quite evident, and every time we made eye contact, he would try his best to smile. Once Jerome realized just how loved he was at the home, he started blessing everyone who came by with his signature, “pure joy” grin.
Jerome is now 11 months post-surgery and the very picture of health. He loves exploring the healing home and prides himself on being able to roll very quickly to get where he needs to be. It’s hard to believe this is the same fragile little boy who first came into our hands. Isn’t it amazing what care and nurturing can do?
This Thanksgiving, people all over the US will be getting together to say thanks. The LWB team will definitely be giving thanks that babies like Jerome are able to get the care they need because of your support. Just one look at his smiling face, and there is no doubt that LOVE changes lives.
I know I’ve done this work for fifteen years now, but each and every life saved still humbles me completely.
I look at children like Jerome and am so grateful that a whole community of people believe that his life MATTERS. When we work together, we get to see the most miraculous things unfold. That’s something truly beautiful to celebrate this holiday season.
~Amy Eldridge, Chief Executive Officer