Sharon was born on January 1, 1997 in Uganda, and I was born the next day, January 2, 1997 in Singapore (my parents were missionaries there). About a year later, my family moved back to America where I lived until I was eleven-years-old. In 2008, my family moved to Good Shepherd’s Fold Children’s and Babies’ Home in Uganda. My eyes have been opened to a whole new world.
There are many medically fragile kids at GSF whom I have watched fight for their lives. I have watched God help countless kids win their earthly battles. And I have come to know that the six kids (and many other people in the village whom we know) who lost their earthly battles are living victoriously now in heaven. I’ve stood in disbelief as I learn that a friend in the village has had untreated epilepsy for about fourteen years. I have listened with feelings of sadness and defeat to stories of a teenage mother whose husband just died, and she can’t care for her children. It feels overwhelming at times, but in six years I’ve learned a lot. Yes, my eyes have been opened to much suffering, but more importantly, I’ve been reminded over and over that in the end, God is victorious. I’ve learned the power of one person following God’s lead and choosing to focus on just one person or one cause. God put on my heart that Sharon was one of the ‘ones’ I should intercede for.
When she was about a year old, she got sick – very sick. She had strep throat and because her family is very poor, they didn’t take her to the hospital until it was too late. Sharon had developed heart problems. While I was learning about the suffering in the world, Sharon was experiencing it first hand. When she was sixteen, her heart got worse, and she was taken to the government hospital because her family had no choice. They left the hospital with bad news and a big debt. With the condition of her heart, Sharon would have to go to India for heart surgery. Since her family could never afford that, Sharon has had to make the three-hour journey every month to get medicine to help. She enjoys making mats and sells them to pay for her journey. However, she has a hard time selling them and must sell six every month in order to pay for her transport and medicine.
In August, Sharon’s baby sister was put on GSF’s feeding program to keep malnourished families together and in December, my mom heard her sing at the program’s Christmas party. After finding out that she had heart problems, she asked for a report on her. When I heard Sharon’s story and that her birthday was the day before mine, I knew I had to fight for this one. On Thursday I finally got to meet Sharon. Even though I had previously only seen her picture, the first thing I noticed is that she has lost a lot of weight. The government hospital has also told her that she can no longer go to school because her ‘heart is too weak’. Sharon’s situation has become urgent and we need to get her to India for surgery as soon as possible. Would you please consider joining me in helping Sharon get to India? Here are some ways you can help.
• Give – While not everyone can give, you can also help raise money. You could hold a bake sale, or offer to shovel snow out of people’s driveways and donate the money you raise to Sharon’s heart project. You could also mention it to your church or school and ask them if they would be willing to share (or let you share) Sharon’s story with
the youth group, Sunday school classes, individual school classes or the whole church or school group and ask people to give. The goal is to raise $10,000 to pay her debt at the government hospital and send her to India for surgery. We have raised about $1,500 so far. To give, click this link, click on ‘Gwartney family’, and make sure to put in the comments (or note to seller), ‘Sharon’s heart project’. 100% of your donation will go to Sharon’s fund. If any extra is collected, it will be used for medical projects for other people in our community. If anything should happen to Sharon before her heart surgery, any remaining funds will also be used for other medical projects in our community.
• Share – You can share this story or the original post from my blog on any social media sites you have or your own blog. You can also be watching for updates on my blog, caralinag.blogspot.com.
• Pray – You can pray that we will be able to raise the money quickly – Sharon’s need for surgery is getting urgent! Please also pray for her heart to stay stable until she can get the surgery.