We want to shine the spotlight on a truly extraordinary dad: Michael McDonell. Alongside his wife Sydney, Mike has played a pivotal role in the lives of numerous children and their families, making a profound impact through selfless acts of kindness.
Michael and Sydney were part of a compassionate diaspora of Mending Kids families who opened their homes to children from around the world, hosting them for life-saving surgeries here in the United States. 14 children found a nurturing and loving environment under their care, requiring an enormous commitment and unwavering dedication. Not to mention, they were also raising 4 children of their own!
While on their worldly bucket list of adventures sailing the seas, Michael chatted with us on the phone during a stopover in Turkey. We reached out to feature him for Father's Day, and he was touched to reconnect with our community. We asked him what he had learned from his incredible experiences and if any moments or children stood out to him.
Without hesitation, Michael brought up Domenica, from Ecuador. “She came into our lives seeking a life-changing heart surgery. One evening, enjoying dinner at a restaurant, I held Domenica in my arms, unaware that a mystical encounter was about to take place. Sitting across the table was a friend of a friend, a psychic, whose gaze seemed to fixate on me and Domenica. And then, without any prior context, she uttered ‘You may think Domenica came to you to have her heart healed, but she's actually here to heal your heart.’ Those words resonated into my soul, and I realized the profound truth behind them. The gifts we receive as caregivers are just as transformative as the love and care we offer these courageous children. The healing power of love knows no boundaries, and it forever changes those who embrace it with open arms.”
Michael also fondly mentioned the very first baby they took care of: Putri, a girl orphaned by the tsunami that hit Indonesia. This precious child was hosted while she underwent and recovered from open-heart surgery to have a chance at a healthy life. Putri was returned to Indonesia and later adopted by her forever family.
As we honor Michael for the immeasurable love, support, and care he has shown to children who needed it most, we applaud his extraordinary character as a father and father figure.
We would like to recognize all the incredible fathers, wherever you are in the world, who strive to raise healthy, resilient, and compassionate children.
Wishing you all a joyful Father's Day celebration filled with love and appreciation. Together, we are mending kids.
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Woodland Hills, CA 91367