“They are hard workers and true HEROES in our minds.” – Child Life Specialist at Shriners
“Johnny and Joy have a special connection beyond their burns; they are brother and sister,” wrote John and Joy’s mother to Kids Wish Network to tell us of how strong her two children, both adopted from different countries, have been after experiencing damaging burns throughout their bodies.
John was less than a week old when he suffered extreme burns on his skin which had closed half of his mouth. He was in Bolivia with his family who was very poor. He came to the USA to receive medical care from Shriners Hospitals for Children in Cincinnati. When he arrived in the USA, he was six months old and only weighed ten pounds.
Eventually, John’s host family adopted him as its own. “John elicits good out of people,” stated his mom when she told Kids Wish Network about his happy spirit.
Just as John’s adoption was being completed, Joy arrived in the USA from China to receive burn care, and John and his family became her host family. She was only four years old and had been abandoned on a street in China and sent to an orphanage. Through the help of an American woman, she was identified for desperately needing medical care on her burn wounds. Just a few short months later, Joy came to the USA. It was determined that she was burned two years previously and that someone had tried to take care of her but could not. She could not walk and her hands had contracted very badly. Her left leg was the only appendage that was not severely damaged.
Joy was determined at her young age to get around, and she would do so by pivoting on her arm and throwing herself forward. She even worked very hard to feed herself with a fork or spoon even though her fingers were so contracted. “One day, while seeing another Chinese girl who traveled with her to the US try on some new shoes, Joy stated in Mandarin, ‘Someday my mother is going to buy me shoes and I will stand up and walk,” stated Joy’s mom who told us of her determination. “She is bright and happy and has allowed herself to give life another chance.”
It is with this determination that she is now an 8th grader and is in cross country and loves to use her hands to create artwork and sew.
Both siblings have been through many surgeries and will continue to need medical therapy and procedures done until they are fully grown. This does not stop them from being who they are- true heroes. John would love to work at Shriners when he gets older, and Joy is interested in teaching. The sky is the limit as they continue their lives with the strength and determination that they both have and continue to teach each of us of their heroism.
It is with great pride that we honor Joy and John’s strength and determination by recognizing them as Kids Wish Network’s along with Shriners Hospitals for Children-Cincinnati’s Hero of the Month. Congratulations, Joy and John!
Hospitals and pediatric care facilities throughout the country participate in the Hero of the Month program by each month nominating children under their care who have faced and overcome difficult circumstances with courage and bravery. Those recognized by Kids Wish Network as a Hero of the Month are presented with a Hero package that includes a gift card and other special gifts. Participating facilities tout this program for its ability to positively impact the lives of children. For more information on becoming part of the Hero of the Month program, contact us.