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Lysa Heslov Headshot

Children Mending Hearts Introduces the Spotlight Program

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I must weep at least four times a day. Driving down Ventura Blvd., pondering something completely innocuous, my face streaming with tears; I can only imagine what the people who pull up beside me at stoplights must think when they look over and wonder why I'm sporting a pair of crazy pants.

Initially, I would try to contain myself during one of these seeming Broadcast News moments, but now I embrace my tears. There are many reasons that I cry: I cry when I've discovered that a young mother with three children has recently died of ovarian cancer, when a friend has lost a relative, their job, or their marriage. But of all the things that I weep for, it is the children I weep for the most. For the children that I have had the honor of working with, the children I would like the honor of working with, for a chance, a voice, their hopes and dreams and always, always for their sweet, honest laughter.

The reality that I simply cannot help all of them is crushing. I carry their sorrow and their pain on my shoulders. I wake in the morning and I go to sleep every night with the children of the world on my mind. I thought to myself one day, what would happen if we focused on one child at a time, one child a month, twelve children a year? What if we chose one child every month and gave the children of this country a chance to help that child. Then one of my staff members came up with a wonderful concept; a campaign entitled, "Spotlight Child Of The Month". I knew that by implementing this concept, we could drastically and immediately change the lives of twelve children a year.

Now -- every month, Children Mending Hearts (CMH) shines the light back into a child's life
through our Spotlight Program.

So many children are forgotten and left hiding in the shadows, but CMH spotlights a child every chance we get and brings them out of those shadows. Through community outreach, donations, and continued awareness, we are able to focus on the dire, physical and emotional needs of these children. By targeting their specific needs we are empowering them and building the courage and confidence they not only need but deserve to keep that precious light burning within.

In May 2011, we will be introducing Jermaine Fairweather.

Jermaine is an extraordinary, bright and hardworking young man. On a fateful night three years ago, his life was forever changed when what began as a fun night out with friends quickly turned tragic. Jermaine was mercilessly gunned down in a senseless robbery. The spray of bullets rained down hard on him; his life was spared but he was left paralyzed.

With an incredibly loving family but no money to cover medical care, Jermaine was forced into a deplorable state-run nursing facility where he has been terribly neglected and has currently fought a dangerous staph infection caused by painful bedsores. The caregivers at the nursing home ignored his pleas for help and when Jeremiah spoke up that he knew something was wrong with his body, they didn't listen or step in.

The infection turned life threatening quickly and weakened his immune system so greatly that he was left unable to fight -- sending him CODE BLUE, which required immediate resuscitation.

Representatives at the hospital have reported that Jermaine's wounds will never heal properly in his current wheelchair, so it is our goal to bring him a new one. In fact, we want to get him a sports wheelchair where we can play basketball in his own. We also want to help provide him other essential needs, but certainly not excluding fun games and pastimes that we all have the luxury of enjoying. I hope that you will join us in helping aid this extraordinary young man who is still working tirelessly at securing a bright future with a smile on his face, despite it all.

Since implementing this program, I'm now weeping on average around three times a day. I weep because I'm so eternally grateful for every waking moment because every moment is another chance we have at changing these kids' lives for the better.

Please visit our website to learn more about Jermaine's Take Actions.