Finally! After a long break, I got news from my charity project "Share the happiness". When we left Shanghai in 2016 I made a commitment that, in gratitude for the good life we had in China, I would continue supporting Heart to Heart in Shanghai. H2H is a fund raising organization, enabling poor children in China a life saving heart surgery.
This is the story of my donation to a little baby boy. It was my 6th child to support since I started my business. But this one was a special project. Here is why:
After many years of yoga practise all over the world it had become on of my dreams that before I would return home to Germany I would get certified as yoga teacher. When I discovered the Red Lotus school of Yoga in Rochester (Michigan) I knew that I had found right place to make this dream come true. The training to become an international registered yoga teacher (RYT) consisted of 200 hours of theory, physical practise, philosophy - and a 6hr "karma yoga" project meaning an act of unselfish action or in other words: Doing a good deed without expectation of anything in return.
I knew that this would be a wonderful opportunity to bring my love for photography and yoga together. I felt so inspired that I asked my dear friend Regina, who still lives and works as yoga teacher in Shanghai, if she wanted to join me. She didn´t think twice.
We were beaming with excitement across the oceans at the thought of this mini global project. Her part was going to teach a special yoga class on donation basis in China. I on my side was offering family portraits in beautiful Stony Metro Creek park in Michigan.
When we were finished Regina was able to hand over 6000 RMB to H2H from both of us (= 750EUR/870USD). Thats a good chunk of the cost of a heart surgery. (It needs 30.000RMB)
We had to wait for the rest of the money to come together at H2H side until our donation was allocated. Finally in March we were notified that a sweet little boy, only 5 months old was going to benefit from surgery.
His name is Yang Zian from Shangdong province and this is his story:
Yang Zian was diagnosed with a complete endocardial cushion defect in Quancheng county Hospital in Shangdong province.
There are 7 members in the family. The grandfather has diabetes and the grandmother has hypertension. Their medication costs around 20,000 yuan per year (2500 EUR/2900USD).
The grandparents work the small farm. When there is time, the father does welding on construction sites. The mother stays home taking care of 3 children - Yang Zian, his 4 year old sister and 3 month old brother. His sister had an operation for CHD at Yodak Hospital in 2016 and the newly born brother also has CHD. The later will wait to see if his defect self-heals. They borrowed RMB 50,000 for the sisterÆs operation which they are still paying back. The grandparents are also in debt for 20,000 yuan. They can't afford Yang Zian's surgery.Information provided by H2H
Yang Zian had to stay for some days in hospital to stabilize in his condition before was able to undergo a complex, open heart surgery. H2H makes sure that all family members are looked after in this time. Thankfully the operation went well and a few days later, Regina was able to visit the boy and his family in hospital.
Meeting the families after the surgery is one of my most valuable memories of our time in China. I was so happy for Regina to make this experience, too. The moment when you get to meet the child and it´s family is just an overwhelming feeling of love and humbleness. It´s a true "heart opener".
Yang Zian had to stay for some more days in care, but when it was time, Karen informed us that he was all ok to go home:
Hi Regina and Angelika,
"I'm so glad that Regina was able to visit Yang Zian while he was in the hospital. I hope you enjoyed the visit. I know the family was glad to have met you since your donation was so instrumental in getting Yang Zian the surgery he needed. I thought you would want to know that he passed his post-surgery tests yesterday and was able to check out and return home with his family. Fantastic news!
Yang Zian will get a checkup in 6 months and then will be monitored for a few years. Since his situation was so complex, it could be that he needs a follow-up surgery when he gets a little older and grows bigger. We'll see what happens. Nevertheless, for the time being he is doing really well. He wouldn't have been doing well without the surgery, however, so thank you SO much for helping to give him this chance at life."
Let´s hope that he does not need a follow up operation. In any case he will now be looked after by the hospital and H2H. This is the reason why I love supporting Heart to Heart. Despite me living now across the globe I still feel so close to them and I KNOW that everyones energy and money is 100% going to those children who need it!
About the time when Yang Zian was sent home I completed my teacher training and proudly received the RYT200 certification - hooray!
Only a couple of days later it was time to pack boxes again for our next move: - After 1,5 years in Michigan, and 5,5 in China it was also time for us to return home to Germany. It was not part of our agenda to leave Michigan already, but sometimes life has it´s surprises. You learn to accept and allow yourself to go with the flow of life. After all it is a good life for us. And I could not be more grateful for it. We may only have spent a relatively short period in the US, but having been able to make my dream come true and to help at least one more child makes me feel that it was all worth the effort.
I´m writing this post back in Germany and look at these wonderful smiles back in Michigan and little Yang Zian in China.
Thank you, to all who have supported me on this journey and project.
Special thanks to the Schober Family, Monika and her sweet boys and the Dayouw Family!!!
And thank you Regina for making this happen!
Together we have bridged a rainbow of LOVE and LIGHT across the globe straight into someones heart.
Another "circle of happiness" is complete.