| Farewell from Anh Ly Moellers|
I first encountered H2H in 2012, shortly after moving back to China. I had previously worked in Sanya and Beijing and, in my free time, had volunteered in orphanages there. What I appreciate about H2H is that it provides so many roles and jobs: anyone can find something to do that suits their skills, needs, and lifestyle.
My H2H tasks allowed me to work from home. Unfortunately, I still traveled frequently and was rarely in Shanghai long enough to say hello to everyone. Still, I managed to continue to help with the never-ending admin work that goes on behind the scenes. After a couple of years, we moved again, and I thought I had left my volunteering work at H2H behind me as well.
However, as life goes, we found ourselves back in Shanghai in 2015. Consequently, I soon had some free time again so I signed up to join H2H’s admin team and have been happily typing away since 2017. Most volunteers don’t see much of me, and that’s ok. I like being in the background, quietly assisting in my own way.
Heart to Heart has a special meaning to me. As a child, my family fled Vietnam after the war. We had a tumultuous journey on a fishing boat that was pirated and capsized. We were luckily rescued and helped to a refugee camp. By more random luck, we were eventually accepted as refugees to Australia. Having had to go through medical examinations for our visas, doctors discovered that I had a CHD — and my parents finally understood why I tired easily and was rather small for my age. So within a year of arriving in Perth, and being only 4 years old, I underwent open-heart surgery sponsored by the government. My parents didn’t speak English, they didn’t understand what the surgery would do, but they knew that it would give me a better future.
In May this year, I handed over my admin role to two wonderful volunteers who I know will do a great job keeping the inbox in check! I have since spent time in the playroom and helped to orientate new playroom volunteers. We understand that the situation isn’t ideal right now. The hospital has been closed to visitors for a couple of months due to COVID restrictions. Still, I hope we can all get back into the playroom to offer respite to the kids and their parents or guardians once the hospital allows. It may not seem like we are doing much there, but providing a safe and joyful place for the young patients to spend time is invaluable. I talk to the parents and ask them how they are doing. They enjoy our chats and sometimes just need a time-out as well. The kids are resilient; in most cases, they may one day not even remember that they were ever in a hospital as a child. But the impact on the parents and families is immense.
As you see, I am an example of what life-changing heart surgery can do for an underprivileged child. Only with the generosity that was shown to me all those years ago do I have the quality of life that I have today and the opportunities I get to pay it forward. I know how lucky I am.
You are all fantastic people: Karen, DJ, and Nancy at H2H’s helm, and the army of assemblers, event and playroom volunteers, sewers, knitters, and admin crew. H2H’s inspiring work impacts generations. I hope you know the good you do. It has been a privilege to participate in this community during my time in Shanghai. Thanks for having me and know that I will forever be connected to Heart to Heart and all of you.