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FacesI only knew her briefly, but my friend, JK, told me all about her. She was 17 and ever since as long as anyone can remember, she was passionate about anything that was pink. In fact, although her real name was Bu-Tomb, she quickly got the nickname of “Pink” when she was first found on the streets as a young child. She was one of the first children that Kru Nam had ever rescued out of the horrors of the brothels, and she had been at the home since 2001. She had a mom who was still on the streets and recently made it through a drug rehab program. She had three other siblings, yet she had no official existence. She was stateless, she was at risk, and she had a smile that would melt your heart.It had gone unnoticed for quite a while, slowly and quietly stealing her strength, her health and her future. Like a stealthy thief it may have laid dormant in her body for years, but no one will ever know for how long. She was one of 3 kids from the children’s home to ever make it to the 11th grade and she was sponsored by kind foreigners who cared about their future. She loved school and she had hopes of what she wanted to be when she graduated. Although she owned nothing of any material value in this world, she was loved, she was valued and she was among her family in that place. It was a large family full of other kids like her and full of caring adults who worked tirelessly to help them let go of the past and embrace a future that could be free from exploitation and shame. Her life was a bright light and that light was stolen by an enemy that no one saw coming: cancer.FacesPink was diagnosed with leukemia earlier this year. By the time she received the official diagnosis, the cancer had begun to spread to her stomach and she was unable to digest food normally. Her young life was quickly slipping away and there was nothing anyone could do about it. Because she was stateless, there wasn’t a lot that anyone cared to do about it -anyone except her family at the children’s home. Together they located her mother, found support to help cover the medical costs and together they made her last time on earth beautiful and full of dignity. Different staff members would stay beside her bed. Although she wasn’t supposed to be there according to the hospital, her birth mother would come and sleep under her bed each night, trying to be as close to her as possible. Kru Nam made sure that Pink was treated like a princess. Despite the fact that she shared a hospital room with 8 other patients, she was in her only little world of pink: pink headbands, pink pillowcases and even a pink robe.Pink’s birth mother was Burmese and Catholic, and as the priest was located and brought to give her her last rites, they hooked her frail body up to adrenaline. Her heart monitor steadily beeped as the priest prayed and her mother started to cry and sing the songs of the dead. JK and a small group of friends stood by in silence. Slowly the monitor went flat, and as Pink’s spirit left the earth JK’s cell phone rang. It was Kru Nam. “What just happened? I know that something just happened.” She somehow knew. I think a mother’s heart always knows, deep down inside, no matter how many “children” she has.facesPink was a gift to the world and her life was worth the effort. She left the earth knowing that she was loved and that there were people who cared deeply about her. Like countless millions of young lives at risk around the world, she needed to know that there was a safe place to grow up in and there was a safe place to live out her dreams. Pink’s memorial service was sweet and beautiful; just like her. She was dressed in her favourite pink shirt.Kru Nam is one of the heroes that LiveDifferent (formerly Absolute) has had the privilege to support and work alongside of through our Hero Holiday programs in Thailand. We need your help to be able to continue to do so. We are returning to work with Kru Nam in August of 2010 and we would love to have you join us. Your life can be a part of the picture of hope that we are endeavoring to draw for kids such as Pink who need to know that someone believes in them. Please consider playing a part in creating that picture.

Author: LiveDifferent

Date: December 13th, 2009