Sunday, February 12, 2012

Update from Starfish February 12


As of 11am EST Sunday February 12, 2012

I am starting today's update with what I call "the compassion stats" to add context to the outpouring of well-wishes received from across the globe to help Amanda:

*Over $60,000 US donated in China at the hospital by Chinese citizens, officials and dignitaries that literally bring cash to the hospital and hand it to Amanda
*$25,000+ US donated via our "Donate Now" website link in the past eight days. This money will be used to address any/all medical costs
*160+ emails (of the 900+ that have hit my inbox) with recommendations to 22 specific hospitals/cancer centers willing to provide Amanda some form of care if needed.

Amanda is now into a full chemotherapy regimen that will continue for the next four weeks. The results of this 1st phase of treatment will be one of the key metrics used to determine if we stay the course in Xi'an or seek options elsewhere. Amanda's spirit certainly has been tested, but she remains upbeat and periodically treats the staff to one of her spicy "verbal bullets". This is music to the ears for all of us that have been on the receiving end of that personality trait.

Regarding the operations of the foster home I have much more clarity on what is happening and I am comforted by the news as detailed below:

*Our lawyer has met with Amanda, the civil affairs department, and senior officials at the large orphanage that Starfish partners with for the foster home. These meetings can be viewed as "discovery" discussions to get all of us up to speed on the facts on the ground and, most importantly, to get aligned with all relevant local officials
*Broadly speaking, both parties are aligned on the idea of "normal daily operations" of the foster home. The orphanage management has been very receptive to talking with us and has expressed a desire to help define operating procedures during Amanda's absence
*Our lawyer spent time at the foster home meeting with our amazing staff and confirming that the kids are in good shape, the nanny staff was paid in full on Friday and the cupboards are well stocked.

As I mentioned in my last post, I have asked Patrick Belnap ( to represent the foundation in Xi'an. To say that Patrick is qualified is truly an understatement as you will see when you follow the link above. He is fluent in Mandarin, has spent 6+ years in China, has family in Xi'an, has an educational pedigree well-suited to the situation and he knows Amanda very well. I think all of you would agree that we are very fortunate to have an asset like Patrick on the Starfish team to help us navigate our way through this situation.

There are a lot of people working day and night to make sure that we continue to trend in the positive direction. As you can imagine, this is a very complex situation to navigate.

I want to particularly thank Maria Teresa Graells (known as "Maria P") at the foster home and Deborah Coffey, our director of communication.

Both ladies have worked 24/7 and tirelessly since this situation occurred.

Maria P has been running the operations of the Foster Home making sure nothing misses a beat. This is an enormous task especially given that she is a volunteer and has selflessly dived in.

Deborah Coffey and her husband, Greg, have been indispensable in helping us gather, coalesce, and communicate information in a timely and accurate manner. Deborah is our Director of Communications and has brilliantly handled this unusual situation for us.

Jeannie Butler, a very close friend to Amanda and major supporter of Starfish, is going to China to be with Amanda - she will leave on March 1st. If you would like to send Amanda well-wishes in the form of a card or letter, please send them to Jeannie Butler to be received Jeannie no later than February 27, 2012 to the following address:

Caring for China's Orphans
P.O. Box 210003
Nashville, TN 37221

Thank you for your continued support,

Patrick McLaughlin and the Starfish Board

No comments: