Stories of the Heart: Chairs4Change, a Unity Initiative Partnership
I’m so excited to be joining Love Without Boundaries as the new Director of International Cardiac Care. Every Tuesday, I will be joining you here in this blog space, sharing stories and updates from the LWB cardiac initiatives – a “Stories of the Heart” series, if you will. I hope the stories of courageous fight shared here with you all in this space inspire courage of your own… and dare you to try to change the world, even just for one.
~ Meredith Toering
From rural villages across Anhui, we hear the stories, over and over again. Stories of deep love, of great courage, and of sacrifice beyond comprehension — families willing to do whatever it takes to find hope for their child.
Tia is one of these children. She and her family walked into the local hospital, hearts beating hard with nerves. The doctor listened to her heart & hooked her up to all sorts of machines she had never seen before — measuring each thump, the strength of each beat. He shook his head and delivered the devastating news: “Your daughter was born with a complex heart defect and will need surgery to live. She will not survive without. What would you like to do?”
What would you like to do…The most difficult question in all the world. In a country like China, where Tia and her family live, there is no insurance safety net. There is no stockpile of emergency funds. The family must either come up with the funds to cover the cost of the surgery up front, or they must take their daughter home, knowing that without surgery she will most likely not survive.
Tia’s parents were willing to do whatever it took, even selling some of their egg-producing chickens to help cover her costs. Without unlimited resources and feeling helpless to ever afford the high cost of surgery, many parents with children in Tia’s situation make the most heartbreaking decision and choose instead to abandon their baby, hoping beyond hope that someone will step into the gap. That someone will bring hope.
You have probably heard us share about our Unity Initiative, the program built to stand in the gap for so many families like Tia’s. The Unity Initiative exists so NO family is forced to make that decision and no child or family is left without hope. Through the Unity Initiative, we are so happy to report that Tia recently underwent her lifesaving heart surgery and is healing well. We are so hopeful she can return home with her family soon!
We are overjoyed when people partner with us in this hope, and I am so excited to introduce you to Chairs4Change, our newest Unity Initiative partner. You may not have heard of these three girls yet, but they are out to change the world. These three sisters, Elyse, Jasmine, and JJ, were all adopted from China and affectionately call themselves “The Chairs” because they use wheelchairs for mobility. They have dreamed up their initiative, Chairs4Change, to create change for hundreds of children around the world.
Their goal? One million dollars. Taking spare change to make great change in the lives of so many…and for the hearts of so many. They have thrown themselves behind the LWB Unity Initiative and have raised the funds for Tia’s open heart surgery and are chasing down their next goal: another open heart surgery and another life saved.
We are inspired and encouraged by these three girls and would love if you would change the world with them. For children like Tia and families just like hers, will you stand with them?
~Meredith Toering, Director of International Cardiac Care for LWB