Buckle in, this story is a rollercoaster ride!
James Rey was 6-years-old when we first met him in 2013. He was born with a bilateral cleft lip. His father was a fisherman who barely made enough to support the family of 7. Affording an operation would have been impossible…which is why Abounding in Love stepped in to help. Shortly after, we enrolled him in a medical mission in Cebu City.
Although I’d like to say that several years have passed since his successful cleft lip surgery, James’s story is much more complicated.
Unfortunately, he failed the screening process during the medical mission. The doctor discovered that James had a heart condition called patent ductus arteriosus (PDA). A heart operation was now the top priority; cleft lip repair would have to wait.
The family was still waiting to qualify for a free heart operation in 2019. This is when, once again, their lives took an unexpected turn. James’s father went missing during an accident while fishing. He has not been seen since. James’s mother, Anabel, was now required to be the breadwinner of the family. She began working as a laundress and supports her 5 young children with a mere $76 per month. Abounding is now sending them a small monthly allowance just to keep them on their feet.
Things took a turn for the better in the Spring of 2021 when James finally qualified for a free heart operation. The procedure occurred in Manila (April 14), in collaboration with the Rotary Club of Cebu, Let it Echo, and the Gift of Life Foundation. Everything went smoothly. The one big downside is that, due to his poor health history, James is now ineligible for any cleft medical missions.
To say it’s been a bumpy road for James and his family would be a serious understatement. The hardships they’ve faced over the past 8 years would test even the strongest of spirits. But they’ve braved through it and we’re still standing by them. And now we’re hoping that you will stand alongside us.
James is now 14-years-old and healthy enough for cleft lip surgery…a surgery that should have (in a perfect world) occurred in 2013. Since he is ineligible for regular medical missions, we had to explore other options. Thankfully, a local plastic surgeon has offered to perform the procedure for free. All we need to do is cover the hospital bill and laboratory expenses.
We’re not stopping there!
Their home currently has no electricity, running water, mattresses, or a proper kitchen. Anabel can’t even afford to buy school supplies for her children, she has a hard enough time putting food on the table. There are so many little ways we can make a big difference here…and if there’s a need, we intend to fill it!
I’ve outlined the details for the fundraiser down below. That should paint the full picture of what we’re trying to accomplish as well as the amount we’ve budgeted for every need.
Cleft Lip Surgery: $1153.00
Food and Vitamins (full year): $650.00
New Mattresses: $90.00
Kitchenware & Other Household Items: $175.00
Electricity Connection: $425.00
Water Supply Connection: $152.00
School Supplies & Gifts for the Children: $155.00
**As with all of our fundraising efforts, 100% of the money received will go directly to this cause. If you donate $50, James and his family get $50; it’s as simple as that. We never recoup any administrative fees.
Most people turn a blind eye to stories like these, but you didn’t. By reading this far, you’ve demonstrated a tremendous amount of compassion for those in need. I, for one, find that truly inspiring. The fact is that these are real people with real problems…and they’re in desperate need of help. We might not have the power to change the world, but together we have an opportunity to change 6 individual lives. That’s a good start in my book!
Lastly, for those who can’t afford to make a financial contribution, there are plenty of other ways you can help. You could share this story with friends and family, spread the word on social media, or even start your own fundraiser for James (click the “Join” button at the top of this page). The sooner we can get the word out, the sooner we can make this happen. Thank you!
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