HENDERSONVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Abandoned in a trash heap on the side of the road in Haiti, an orphaned baby is being welcomed with open arms in Hendersonville.
Now a local school is doing all they can to help make him comfortable.
Baby JJ is just old enough to almost say hi, but if he could tell his story, JJ’s tale would start across the ocean where an orphanage worker heard his cry.
“In the trash. Basically, he was thrown away,” noted Annie Munson, JJ’s host mother in the states. “She heard crying, and she was digging around …and there he was.”
While JJ is mentally aware, he’s in need of several surgeries to due to a condition that causes several joints to bend or curve at odd angles.
The Haitian orphanage has ties to Annie’s church, Fire Place Fellowship. Officials soon worked to get JJ to the states for treatment on a medical visa.
“[Church officials asked], ‘Would you guys be willing to take him if we do this?’ and I’m like, ‘Yeah, let’s do this,’” said Munson. “They diagnosed him with arthrogryposis, which literally means hook joints.”
While this condition will be treated free of cost, courtesy the Shriner’s Hospital in Philadelphia, diapers and wipes are not.
Neither are other possible medical needs. Due to his medical visa, JJ can’t be covered by health insurance.
“Just seeing a doctor was $150,” said Munson. “Every little thing costs money.”
In stepped Hendersonville Christian Academy, which raised thousands of dollars through hundreds of paper hearts.
Admissions Director Angel Andress explained to News 2 that once she heard of this story, she knew they had to help.
“Students could buy hearts for any denomination,” she said. “I stood out in the hallway each morning with a little table. They just filled those out however they wanted to.”
Through those as well as anonymous donations, the Munsons would receive more than $1,800 from HCA.
“It was humbling, especially for my husband and I,” said Munson.
The news was also a godsend for little JJ. Once found in a Haitian trash, he’s now become a Hendersonville gem.
JJ and the Munsons now anxiously await his upcoming surgeries, which they believe may take several years.