Why We Care
Inspiration From One Little Boy
Both Kathy and | recently reinforced our commitment to being an advocate for a Chinese burn survivor named Liang Jin by attending our first Phoenix World Burn Congress in Anaheim, California.
The experience to meet and talk with actual burn survivors provided us the support resources, emotional and educational details we need to expand our help for Liang Jin.
The Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors supports and empowers anyone affected by a burn injury. Survivors and their loved ones face a lifelong journey of physical, emotional, and social recovery. Phoenix Society fills the gap in care with programs, tools, and resources for social and emotional healing. They can be reached at www.phoenix-society.org
It also was an acknowledgment that we had the right pragmatic view for supporting this little boy. As foreigners with large families from California with backgrounds in both medicine and primary school education validated our initial instincts on how we were caring for Liang Jin. Confidence in ourselves drove our resolve.
But as we continue to evolve the support we provide for Liang Jin, we are often questioned why we care so much about this particular little boy who is not from our home country or family. We both agreed we were previously passive donors and volunteers like most people to support tax write offs, annual Girl Scout cookie drives and the occasional Susan G Koman breast cancer walk. Life just kept taking priority over any extraneous activities outside of work and family.
Then, Kathy’s mother, Denise, the matriarch of the family died suddenly due to her long battle with Diabetes. In planning for her memorial we had the time to reflect on who she was as a person and what she meant to the family and others.
A wonderful mother with a generous heart who would not hesitate to provide a safe house when needed, feed the neighborhood kids, lead a Campfire Girls group for many years, and provide life advice and always be the person you could trust to be there with unbounded love, laughs, and hugs.
I guess timing is everything, because there was a gap in our life after the passing of our mother and the need was there to help Liang Jin. So the scepter was passed unto both of us as if she was guiding our destiny to come together. So in the time since we have brought Liang Jin into our lives we have some quick takeaways about taking a chance to help others in need:
Make helping part of your DNA. Allow your cause to embellish the traits that exist within yourself and others. Take the time to look at who you are and what you want to be as a person. It is ok to start small, but personalize your support to reinforce your core values and to achieve the goals you want from this experience.
Personalize your cause. Our connection with Liang Jin has made us a stronger couple bolstered by the common values and reflections we have for each other’s happiness.
There is always enough time to choose kindness. Be open minded when the opportunity makes itself available. Most of the time it is not about money donations but taking the time to acknowledge the person in need with a kind hello or just giving a warm smile that says they exist and you care who they are. Lost opportunity does matter because you can’t recover the lost time throughout the day or week so take advantage of your available time and share your kindness with others.
Find the time to care. We modified our work schedule to allow more daytime hours to be with Liang Jin in order to provide onsite tutoring, ongoing medical support and to enjoy social activities tailored to their needs.
Go Deep. Take the moment to learn why. Learn about your cause and how you can help more effectively. The active volunteer who drives their support activities based upon their life and work experiences is a more effective advocate. Ask questions, get answers, build experiences to gain the knowledge you need to feel engaged with the cause.
Satisfaction comes from knowing how to help. We took the time to learn how the Liang Jin Fund for Burn Children charity was organized and optimized the mission and funding activities to better support Liang Jin’s needs both in China and USA.
Be willing to break norms. Let adversity drive change. Your cause may expose social inequalities that are based on outdated norms. If you believe in the cause, don’t let “no” be the final answer. Look for the right solution by talking to others who have similar experiences and leverage the help from experts. But remember, particularly if you are an advocate, succumbing to frustration doesn’t help.
Let hope and optimism be the mantra of charity. Liang Jin had never attended school due to regional laws and regulations. But governmental agencies along with local schools are working through the stopgap to find a feasible solution. We are optimistic for the future of changing norms through social awareness to the plight of disabled and disadvantaged children like Liang Jin.