The Glow Fund is a UK registered charity, directed by Aaron Deemer, with Mimi Kuo-Deemer on the board of Trustees. The mission of the Glow Fund is to organise and fund surgeries in China for children with serious orthopaedic disabilities.
Since 2005 the Glow Fund has been helping organise, support and fund leading orthopaedic surgeons from Stanford University’s Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital on medical missions to China to perform operations for children with serious orthopaedic disabilities. These doctors have volunteered their time, skills, expertise and care to provided over 350 children with life-changing operations. The children suffer from physical conditions including severe scoliosis, brittle bone disease (osteogenesis imperfecta, or OI), cerebral palsy, club foot and dislocated hips. The majority of the children come from orphanages and foster homes throughout China.
About the Glow Fund
Very few children with orthopaedic disabilities, especially those living in orphanages or in rural and remote areas, ever see doctors let alone receive specialized care or the specific surgical procedures that can help them. In part, this is because the orthopaedic surgeries performed by these doctors are typically expensive, but also many of their disabilities are extremely difficult to treat. The Glow Fund’s mission is to help bridge this gap and grant these children access to some of the best care that anyone could receive. In addition to performing operations, the doctors also work to share their expertise, skill and knowledge with doctors working at the local Chinese hospitals. In this way, the Chinese doctors can continue to provide orthopaedic surgical procedures and care to more and more children.
The Glow Fund believes that donors should feel that the money they contribute has a direct impact on the lives of the children they support. Photographs of the children who receive operations as well as films and post-operation images keep donors in touch with the process and results.
The four doctors, trustees, and most people assisting the operations work on a volunteer basis. The Glow Fund is therefore able to keep the operational costs down to a minimum. These costs includes bringing the doctors and facilitators to China; their hotel and meals during their stay; hospital fees incurred during the week of surgeries; and supporting some of the children through travel, translator fees and boarding costs. The Glow Fund has no administrative, management or high overhead costs such as rent, or salaries for permanent staff. All these resources are provided on a voluntary basis.
History of the Glow Fund
The inspiration to start the Glow Fund came on a trip to Sichuan in 2003, when Aaron met Dolma, a young girl with scoliosis. Seeing how difficult her life would be with this condition, he decided to try and help her.
This led to meeting Eulalia Andreasen, who had been arranging medical missions in China for many years with her charity BICCO (Beijing International Committee for Chinese Orphans). With Eulalia’s support and generous donations from family and friends, Dolma receive the spine-straightening operation from one of the very same surgeons, from the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital, who continues to still come to China today.
With the severe curvature of her back eliminated, Dolma is now a healthy, nineteen-year-old high school graduate who still keeps in touch with Aaron.
The success of Dolma’s operation showed Aaron how a deeply positive impact could be made by connecting a child's needs with the care, support and expertise of people living far away. Since then, Aaron (joined in 2006 by his wife Mimi) has worked with Eulalia and BICCO to fundraise and coordinate bringing children with scoliosis and other orthopaedic disabilities to Chinese hospitals for operations with the team of Stanford doctors.
With 10 years of experience, Aaron and Mimi believe that their ability to help children is founded on building relationships between those who are in need with those that can provide contributions and care. In 2015, Aaron registered the Glow Fund as a CIO charity in the UK. The Glow Fund’s involvement in organising the missions expanded in 2016 when Eulalia and BICCO stopped their work in China. Eulalia has remained a close advisor to the Glow Fund as well as a mentor to Aaron, contributing her wealth of wisdom, guidance and support. Eulalia remains a guiding source of inspiration for Aaron and the Glow Fund surgeons, and our hope is to continue the great work she began over 15 years ago.