A small bus, a long drive and seven volunteers came together on Saturday, October 1st, 2017 on a mission to make a difference in the lives of children with critical heart conditions at Health City Cayman.
This past Saturday teen volunteer group, Impact345 and CIS’s NHS students, visited with child patients from Mongolia and Uganda at the hospital in East End. Impact345 has been working with Have A Heart Cayman, an organisation that works to give free heart surgeries to children with critical heart problems from all around the world, for the past couple years, by collecting various items the children need such as clothes, shoes, and toys.
CIS students, Janelle Woods, Holly Thompson, Wray Sulisz, along with students from other schools, gathered at Health City to bring backpacks filled with clothes and toys to the children who had just recently received life-saving heart surgeries. Part of the experience was entertaining the children with board games, stickers, puzzles, and bouncing balls. One of the children, a young Mongolian boy, age five, was particularly excited to have the company that day. The Mongolian girl, also age five, even got to display her artistic skills by decorating (NHS advisor and chaperone) Mr. Bill, head to toe, in Halloween themed stickers. Two of the four children (from Uganda) had just been released from the ICU that morning, so it was doubtful that the volunteers would be able to see them. However, they were surprised when the nurses brought their new friends out to get a chance to meet the young women from Impact345.
One of the volunteers, Janelle, spoke to the group’s interactions that day: “The experience, in general, is eye-opening. You see these kids coming from all over the world with sometimes only the clothes on their back. They come to a strange country where no one speaks their language. They spend hours on end in a hospital room with the doctors, who are amazing in their fields, being tested and rushed into surgery as soon as possible. They are amazing kids, and just thinking about what would happen to them if they were not brought here is enough to compel you to tears. That is why visiting them is so important. It’s more than just playing with them, it’s showing them love, and uplifting them after such an intense experience. You never know how much you impact them until you see the smiles on their faces. It’s the greatest feeling, and this past Saturday was no different.”
Impact345, visiting children at Health City Cayman Islands for the past three years, is open to anyone who wants to volunteer and encourages the community to mobilize and donate backpacks, toys, clothes, and school supplies for the children who have traveled thousands of miles for a second chance at life. If you or anyone you know would like to take part, contact senior Holly Thompson for more volunteer opportunities!