CHATTANOOGA, Tennessee(WDEF) – An ordinary Chattanooga couple doing extraordinary work to help children born with deformities say they need help from fellow Chattanooga citizens.
In 2007, Susan and Santhosh Mathews began a ministry in Chattanooga called ‘Love without Reason.’ The primary goal is to help children who are born with severe physical deformities. The idea came after the birth of their son Philip.
“Before he was born, they told us the child does not have stomach. And then they told us that he’s got so many holes in heart. They went further and told us he has a cleft lip and pallet and that his right eye is missing and his right ear is missing,” said Mr. Mathews.
According to the couple, doctors said Philip would not survive because part of his brain is missing.
“It still is and we were told he would not walk or talk or have hand-foot coordination and all that,” Mr. Mathews said.
The holes in Philips heart eventually closed and doctors eventually found his stomach. After more than 20 surgeries to reshape his face, Philip has not only survived, he’s become the inspiration for his parent’s ministry.
“If I wasn’t here, then Love without Reason would not have been here,” Philip said with a glowing smile on his face.
To date, the Mathews family has used their ministry to help more than 200 children in the poorest areas of India who were born with deformities similar to Philp. They find the children who need help then team up with medical experts who perform free surgeries to correct the deformities.
“Our hearts were broken for children who don’t have that opportunity in countries where they don’t have access to such surgeons and such great health care facilities and schools. And so our heart is to help those children to have a chance at life because when se our son Philp, we think about every one of these children as our own in saying that they could be another Philip,” said Philip’s mother Susan.
Without the help from the ministry, children who are born with severe deformities become human cattle for what has been described as a disturbing and illegal practice.
“Some of them are just fed and nourished only so that they’re organs could be harvested and sold on the black market,” said Philip’s father Santhosh.
The Mathews say that illegal practice has been happening both in the slums of India and parts of Africa.
Children who are born deformed are considered to be freaks of nature and are shunned from society. The ministry’s goal is to eliminate that problem by helping deformed children receive free corrective surgery. But more help is needed.
“We’re looking for people to join us by being volunteers. We would love people to join us and help by going to these different countries and find these patients. We’d love for them to be a financial help. We love for them get involved and help us in prayer. There are a lot of things that need to be done and we can do it together,” said Mr. Mathews.
The ministry is holding a fashion show and luncheon fundraiser to gain more financial support for its mission of helping deformed children.
The event will be held April 18 inside the ICCM Theater at 6425 Lee highway in Chattanooga.
“It will be a fun day with a lot of local fashion with fashion designers presenting their clothing and their designs. There will also be a lot of vendors there and exhibitors,” said Susan Mathews.
The Mathews are looking to raise $100,000. The money will help pay for the surgeries as well as promoting awareness to human sex trafficking.