[KHTS] – Open heart surgery can change a life. It changed the life of local businesswoman Naomi Carmona-Morshead when she was only 10 years old, and she wants to see other children receive the same life-saving medical treatment.
Carmona-Morshead is partnering with Soroptimist International of Greater Santa Clarita Valley, local Boy Scout troops, the National Council of Jewish Women and local churches to make blankets and care packages for patients of Mending Kids International.
On Sunday, Feb. 9 from 2 to 4 p.m., there will be a “blanket-making factory” event at NorthPark Community Church on Kelly Johnson Parkway.
Mending Kids provides free surgeries, including open-heart surgeries to children around the world who need them, sending teams to countries like Costa Rica, Cambodia, China, Ethiopia and Mozambique.
Children who require more extensive medical care that cannot be performed in-country, are brought to the United States and placed with host families for the months-long surgery and recovery process.
One of these patients, 18-year-old Faith from Kenya, will attend the blanket making event with her Santa Clarita host family.
She has only been in the country for a few days, Carmona-Morshead said, and will probably stay for about four months while she undergoes orthopedic treatment.
Faith’s host family also fosters another Mending Kids patient–one of the Guatemalan conjoined twins who were separated by a groundbreaking surgery in 2002.
Carmona-Morshead said that she is already planning on participating in two Mending Kids trips this year, in addition to an day of outpatient surgery at Cedars-Sinai in early August.
Mending Kids is hoping to perform 20 pediatric surgeries in one day, she said, for 10 international patients and 10 U.S. patients. Apply for treatment online, here. Doctors can also volunteer their services.
The blanket-making event is open to the public, but RSVP is preferred, because about 100 people have already signed up, Carmona-Morshead said.
Volunteers must bring a stuffed animal to donate and a pair of scissors.
Carmona-Morshead said that in more than 50 years, she has rarely shared the story of her own open-heart surgery, but is sharing it now to support Mending Kids because “I feel like it’s a story that people could relate to and want to help other children.”
For more information or to RSVP, contact her at 951-314-2248.
About Mending Kids International
Founded in 2006, nonprofit organization Mending Kids International has provided more than 1,500 free life-changing surgeries to children in 54 countries, including the United States’ “Hometown Missions.” Mending Kids deploys renowned specialized surgical teams on missions to developing countries and brings children to Los Angeles, where they live with volunteer host families during advanced surgical care and recuperation. Mending Kids’ missions additionally focus on providing pediatric surgical training in developing countries to help doctors to build long-term sustainable surgical programs. Funding comes from donations and special events. Ninety percent of every dollar goes to the surgical treatment of the children.