lauren’s 21st birthday!

22 Jun

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Musicians Who Inspire

This idea started after I came back from a recent trip to China and I thought of Brooke Fraser. Brooke Fraser is a singer/songwriter from New Zealand. She is a musician who inspires me through her music and volunteering in Africa as well as other parts of the world. Last year in 2010 for her 27th Birthday, she asked for donations to Charity: Water, a non-profit organization with a mission to provide safe water in developing nations. Then when I came back from China, I went to the U2/The Fray concert. Throughout the concert, Bono, leadsman of U2 promoted One and other issues of justice and poverty in the world. In that rock stadium, there was something I felt that told me I need to do something about real issues I care about. So from legends such as George Harrison and his friends’ (Ravi Shankar, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Ringo Starr and more) revolutionary Concert for Bangladesh to modern day ways of fundraising, I wanted to start raising awareness and funds for a cause I believe in.

Volunteering in China

For the past three years, since 2008, I’ve gratefully had the opportunity to be a part of humanitarian trips to China. Every year, I learn something new and gain an entirely different, more appreciative perspective in life. On the trips to Suqian, China, I’ve been a hygienist assistant and from what I’ve seen, I’ve learned to be more grateful about dentists and the importance of maintaining clean and healthy teeth. This year on a recent trip in May 2011 to Xi’an, China, I assisted with some dental work, but mostly held babies in the post-operating room at the Children’s Hospital. I had never really held a baby or ever changed a diaper before. Within days, I learned how to all this, plus how to take care of post-op cleft lip and palate babies. I absolutely fell in love with these babies. My life will never be the same again as I have learned love and life lessons from these babies. The babies in the post-op room were all orphans, no parents and owned nothing. Most of the babies are abandoned because of their deformities. Parents don’t have the money to operate on their child or simply can’t accept a child with a deformity that can be fixed. However, in those babies I saw adorable, innocent souls who are lovable and need a whole lot of loving. All those babies needed were to be held and taken care of to be content. None of the babies had their own clothes. All of them had to share what little clothes they had. I was heartbroken and wished there was more I could do for all the children.

Lauren’s 21st Birthday Wish

In a week’s time (June 29), I will be turning 21. This year, my birthday wish is $21 (one dollar for every year since I’ve been living) and more for children in China and across the world. 100% of donations will go to the International Children’s Surgical Foundation (ICSF) and Starfish Foster Home. The donations will be divided evenly between these two non-profit organizations and if the numbers are odd, I will pay the difference to make it even. I’m also contributing $21 as a happy birthday to myself and because I truly want to help others receive basic necessities to live.

Dr. Geoff Williams and International Children’s Surgical Foundation (ICSF)

I have been honored to be able to meet Dr. Geoff Williams, a plastic surgeon from Boise, Idaho. Dr. Geoff Williams founded ICSF to travel to developing countries to treat and perform surgeries on cleft lip, cleft palate and other deformities suffered by children. He has dedicated his entire life to help others have a better life. I have been fortunate to observe Dr. Geoff Williams operate on a cleft palate. With no medical expertise, anyone could tell the precision of his hands at work and see how much he cares for the lives of children and their parents. He is a humble man with a humble heart and I am always in awe when I read ICSF’s heartfelt messages.

To learn more, visit the ICSF website here: http://icsfoundation.org/

Amanda de Lange and Starfish Foster Home

Amanda, the founder of Starfish has dedicated a full time mission to help babies receive surgery, care, love and happiness. I met Amanda and visited Starfish for the first time on this trip to Xi’an in May 2011. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I visited Starfish, but I already knew I would probably have an emotional breakdown once I saw the babies. When we arrived at Starfish, I first met Coco, one of the Starfish babies. Tears streamed down my face right there and then. Coco started crying and then I cried. An acupuncture doctor poked holes on Coco’s scalp. I have this almost deathly reaction to needles. The needles in her head reminded me of Frankenstein of some sort. But she was far from being that dreaded monster. Coco has this gorgeous round baby face with a beautiful smile. I had no idea what was wrong with her until someone told me. She was born without an anus and her arm is deformed. I just couldn’t believe it. This is the everyday life of Amanda and Starfish, to help care for children with special needs. I couldn’t think of a more rewarding cause.

To learn more, visit Starfish Foster Home here: http://www.thestarfishfosterhome.org/index.aspx

How can $21 and more benefit the children?

$21 and more will go towards paying a child’s surgery and cover the costs of a surgical mission. Daily necessities for the children can be paid for such as baby bottles, diapers, medicine and clothes. The nannies who take care of the children need sponsoring and since Starfish has moved to a new location, they need help with finishing their project of moving to a new place. Currently, Bella, one of the Starfish babies needs a surgery for spina bifida. There is a lot $21 and more can do!

Ways of Helping and Donating

If you want to help and donate, here are options on contributing:

1. By clicking here via PayPal, donations can be paid by credit card.

2. By writing a check to ‘Lauren Sum 21st Birthday Charity’, you can mail donations to ….

Lauren Sum 21st Birthday Charity

P.O. Box 581262

Salt Lake City, UT 84158

(Birthday donations will be accepted until July 29, 2011)

If you could please contribute $21, more or less, any amount will go a long way to help with this cause for children. And even if you can’t donate, please go do something good in the world. Do something for you, your family, friends, neighbors, strangers and for anyone at all.

I will be keeping track of contributors and donations here.

Thank you for taking your time reading this message. Your love and support means a lot to me. I know all of us together can change the lives of others. I love you all!

Lauren

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