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2024 February Heartbeat

Baby Erick with his mother and grandmother

From the Heart

It’s cold outside in my part of the country, and since the sun sets early, I’m spending more time indoors. I’m musing about RuiRui, LongLong, and XuanXuan in China and the struggles their families face. How can we support and encourage them in this demanding journey?

Parenting is hard work, filled with complex emotions. For parents of children with disabilities, the feelings are even more complex: fear, worry, guilt, grief, and isolation show up, along with positive feelings of love, pride, and joy. 

The parent of a child with disabilities worries about doing the right things or doing enough to help their child. They often feel guilty if they cannot provide enough support to their child or if the attention needed by their child limits their ability to work or help other family members. Feelings of isolation and grief are also common. These emotions are complex to understand and resolve, sometimes leading to depression and despair.

Thankfully, the Philip Hayden Foundation has an opportunity to help parents make the challenging decision to raise a child with disabilities. In that city, there is a mental health counselor available for these families, but the cost is too high. Partnering with Hope Station, a local Chinese charity, PHF has offered to provide the counseling cost for the parents in their Family Strengthening Program. You can join this effort with a donation to the Medical Fund.

Caring for a child with disabilities can be like running a marathon. The aid of a counselor to help process the complex emotions is like offering food and water and the encouragement of a cheerleader to a long-distance runner. Tangible support immediately removes isolation and validates big, complex feelings. The parent becomes healthier, which translates into better care for their child.

Would you think of these courageous parents on cold, dreary winter days? Your support brings a sense of warmth and light. Thank you!

A Chance for Life: Support Baby Erick’s Heart Surgery

Baby Erick with his yery young mother

Baby Erick is only 6 months old, and his young mother is just 14 years old. Erick has a rare congenital heart disease, hypoplastic left heart syndrome. The left side of the heart is underdeveloped, resulting in poor blood flow. The only hope for survival is three complex heart surgeries, with the first one happening shortly after birth, the second at 6 months, and the third before the baby is 18 months old.

Baby Erick had the first surgery and is developmentally ready for the next surgery. If it does not happen on time, he has less than a 10% chance of survival. A specialist in Mexico City must do the surgery, and thankfully, the surgery costs have been provided. But because Erick’s mother is so young, Erick’s grandmother must travel to Mexico City too.

PHF is partnering with Red de Ciudadanos de Mérida to provide the travel and living expenses for Erick, his mama, and his grandmama. Your donation to the PHF Medical Fund will help Erick receive life-saving surgery he so desparately needs.

Meet Pammy

Meet Pammy! Pammy is four years old and has Down syndrome. She is bright and friendly and thinks it’s funny when she walks backward. In China, that’s an important skill to have. Pammy likes bouncing toys, bouncy horses, and bouncing on her nanny’s lap. She’s curious and likes to open drawers or cupboards to see what’s inside them. She follows the nurses on their rounds and holds their hands as they walk down the hall to see her friends. Your donations through PHF help provide necessary medical care to this sassy young lady living in a New Hope Foundation Healing Home.

Celebrating Lunar New Year- the Year of the Dragon

stock photo of dragon dance

Let the celebration begin! Lunar New Year 2024 will be celebrated on February 10th, 2024, marking the beginning of the Year of the Dragon. Chinese people will have a 7-day holiday from February 9th to February 15th in 2024 to celebrate this important festival. Other countries have established similar lengthy celebrations of this significant annual event. As you may know, each year has a symbol and meaning. The Year of the Dragon symbolizes power, strength, and good fortune. 

Lunar New Year, or Spring Festival, as it is called in China, is an important family time. Train stations and airports bustle with activity as migrant workers travel back to their rural homes. The family will prepare eight different dishes because eight is a lucky number. And dumplings, or Jiaozi, are always the heart of the feast. 

Traditionally lasting 16 days, Spring Festival starts on Lunar New Year’s Eve and ends with the Lantern Festival. During this time, people engage in various customs and traditions, such as family reunions, exchanging gifts, visiting temples, and enjoying festive food. The Lantern Festival, which falls on February 24th, 2024, marks the end of the festival and is celebrated with the lighting of lanterns and dragon dances in parades and street fairs. Check your local area for celebrations, or try making Jiaozi!

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