My name is Carmelina Gorski, and I am a student in the International Baccalaureate (IB) Program at Atlantic High School. A requirement for this program is completing a personal project, a project that forces us to step out of our comfort zone. I have chosen to organize a miniature golf event on September 23, 2017 at Putt’n Around to raise at least $7,000 for a charity, Open Hearts for Orphans. As far as projects go, this one is about as personal as they can be.
When I was nine months old, my parents traveled to China to adopt me from an orphanage in Chen Zhao, China. I was malnourished, wearing clothes that were so tight on me that they left marks on my skin, and I was clearly not given any attention. My parents brought me into a loving home, and I am incredibly grateful for them. I cannot even imagine the life I would have lived if my parents had not adopted me, and it saddens me that most Chinese orphans will never get the same opportunity. We, as abandoned children, were born into a difficult life--one that is out of our control, leaving us to rely upon the goodwill of adoptive parents and charitable donations.
Many orphaned children have serious health issues and are not able to get the treatment they so badly need. Chinese authorities estimate that 98% of abandoned children have disabilities today, and the need for help is growing exponentially. The orphanages lack the funding and resources to provide the care that, I believe, every child deserves. Also, many children are never adopted and are forced to live in the orphanages until they reach age 14, and are then forced to survive on their own.
I have chosen to donate the proceeds of our fundraising event to Open Hearts for Orphans, founded by a close family friend, Lisa Murphy. I’ve known her family for my whole life and am extremely lucky to be able to work with her foundation. She and her husband adopted five children from China, and Open Hearts for Orphans was created in memory of her second child, Daniel, who died from a congenital heart defect at the age of 2 ½.
I knew Daniel, and he will always be in my thoughts and prayers. What happened to him begs the question, “What if…?” What if he had been given the right care and treatment while in the orphanage? Unfortunately, we will never know; all we can do is try to prevent more of these tragic scenarios from occurring. This project is also very close to my heart because my mother has the same congenital heart defect that Daniel had--Tetralogy of Fallot. My mom underwent two surgeries when she was young to correct the defects and thankfully survived both.
My goal is to raise a minimum of $7,000 to put a pulse oximeter in 250 Chinese orphanages. A pulse oximeter measures how much oxygen is in your blood. Low oxygen saturation (hypoxemia) in blood can impede body function, harm vital tissues, and can be life threatening. Since 2012, the use of pulse oximetry for screening of congenital heart defects has become routine, but for children in orphanages, this simple, life saving device is not available to them. These children are in need of so much more, but any help at all makes a big difference. Thank you for helping me meet my goal. I am extremely proud to be a part of something that helps others and that is so personal to me and thepeople in my life.
From the Event's Creator, Carmelina Gorski
These beautiful children have been adopted into loving American families and their parents use pulse oximeters at home daily.
These children are, thankfully, now receiving the medical care they need and deserve.
Thanks to some very generous sponsors, many wonderful silent auction items, and tons of fun at our Hearts of Hope event in September 2017, Carmelina's fundraiser brought in almost $15,000! What we've learned, since this initiative began, is that the need and the scope of this endeavor is much greater than we anticipated. We would be so appreciative if you would lock arms with us, in partnership with Little Hearts Medical, to continue fundraising for Hearts of Hope!
Phase one of this project is currently underway and thirteen units have been purchased and delivered to medical foster homes where medically-fragile children and babies are cared for. Very specific and specialized equipment was necessary for monitoring these children, which cost more than we originally planned. But the wonderful news is that we are moving forward and will continue to do so!