Monday, February 1, 2016

Day 1 - Little Hearts Medical

When I take a look behind me and reflect on the road my husband and I have taken with our four heart warriors, I am amazed at all they have brought into our lives: love, joy, and a profound appreciation for the hear and now.  That powerful sense of the sanctity of the present grew with each challenge faced by our children, but it was witnessing our youngest daughter being pulled back from the precipice of death that solidified that evolution.  The morning that the second of what would be four cardiac arrests took place, I sat in numbed silence as I watched two dozen people in her room attempting to sustain her as they worked to place her on ECMO.  There was the movement of her hospital bed as those violent chest compressions took place, the alarms blaring, the voice over the hospital’s system as the code was called that a child was in cardiac arrest….my child. I watched, stunned, as the painfully glorious choreography of a CICU team working together to save the life of a child played out.  The life of a child. One child.

I have reflected on that morning over and over. So many gave their best to give our child just another hour, another day, as we waited to learn if she would be granted the gift of live that would only come through the unfathomable loss of another family’s child. It traumatized us deeply.  Every single child should be so loved, so fought for.  Although I had already been an advocate for the adoption of CHD children prior to Rini’s journey to the brink and back, I now felt I was being challenged to add more to that piece.  And one year later, I was asked if I would be willing to do just that.  

I began working as the Executive Director of Little Hearts Medical in the summer of 2014, and it brings me such joy!  I am proud to be a part of this all-volunteer organization. Founded in 2012 by adoptive parents Mike and Tanya Lee, we are a 501 (3)(C) charity whose mission it is to help improve cardiac care for orphan and impoverished children in China through the medical partnerships we have formed with hospitals in Beijing.  LHM also works hand-in-hand with the China Center for Child Welfare and Adoption on projects that advance cardiac care within China’s social welfare institutions through the education of orphanage staff and local officials.

Some highlights from 2015 include our May trip where I traveled with Special Projects Coordinator Ann Bartlinski and her husband, Dr. Ed Bartlinski, visited multiple medical foster homes including Peace House, Little Flowers, Morningstar, Harmony House, and New Day, and met with officials at the China Center for Children Welfare and Adoption.  

         During that visit, we were asked to return in September to make a presentation which evolved into the Little Hearts Medical/Holt International Children’s Services’ “Love You More” Cardiac Care Presentation. The address was delivered by my husband, Eric, to an audience of orphanage directors and Civil Affairs officials at the CCCWA’s general assembly meeting in Shanghai. 

          That same month, we assisted at the Shandong province Journey of Hope Camp, made presentations at multiple orphanages throughout the province as well as at Peace House medical foster home in Beijing.  

          In November, we participated in the Beijing Ambassador Program, and thanks to our generous donors, our 2015 fundraising projects resulted in our being able to present Harmony House Beijing with an air conditioning unit, as well as new surgical loupes to Dr. Zhou, Chief of Cardiothoracic Surgery at BaYi Children's Hospital in Beijing.

We are currently planning our medical team’s April trip to China under the leadership of our Medical Director, Dr. Laurie Armsby. Our goals are to continue to provide assessment and intervention for children with complex congenital heart disease, and we will also provide education to teams of Chinese cardiologists and surgeons via the presentation of case histories.

A service we provide to orphanages, adoption agencies, and prospective adoptive families is our Cardiac Case Summary service.  While we always appreciate donations, this service is free of charge, thanks to our team of pediatric cardiologists and surgeons from children’s hospitals across the country. Along with providing these cardiac file assessments, our team also works with cardiologists and surgeons in China to plan interventions and surgeries for children there. LHM provided 116 cardiac case summaries in 2015, our first year of providing this service.  Since the start of 2016, we have already provided 22 cardiac case summaries and it doesn’t look like our caseload will slow down any time soon!  We absolutely love being of service and look forward to more pediatric cardiologists and surgeons joining our organization as Medical Advisors in the upcoming months.

          I am so grateful for the opportunity to assist LHM in reaching its goals, and on behalf of our organization, we thank you for taking the time to learn about our mission. We appreciate your support and especially your prayers as we strive to improve the lives of China’s heart warriors.  CHD children are a force to be reckoned with, and we will do our utmost to support them and improve their lives.

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1 comments: said...

Beautiful! What a gift LHM is to China and to ALL of us!!

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