The founders, Susan and Santhosh Mathews started Love Without Reason, believing that everyone
deserves respect and dignity, no matter how they look.
It is not easy to walk around with a congenital facial difference, with scars on your face, or with prosthetics that can pop on and pop off. How many people do that daily all over the world? The persistence of rejection begins before birth.
Like so many in all reaches of the world, Susan and Santhosh received the doctor's advice that aborting their child would be the best option for a child with "no hope." Susan, author of "A Mother's Heart," highlights a mother's hope with a special needs child. In 2000, little Philip Mathews was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee, with Hemifacial Microsomia and Goldenhar Syndrome. He had a cleft lip, cleft palate, absent right eye, right ear, multiple holes in his heart, and an absent corpus callosum suggesting many developmental problems.
Philip's surgeons and medical team used holistic treatment. Siskin Children's Institute's work using Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, and Speech Therapy allowed Philip to thrive in his personal life. Over 19 years, Philip went through 25 surgeries. He became a public speaker advocating for the lives of children born with craniofacial differences. Philip traveled to Love Without Reason medical camps encouraging and supporting parents of children undergoing surgery. He inspired those escaping human trafficking of the potential of joy in front of them. The August 2019 mission to Zimbabwe was the final mission to Africa for Philip. On October 22, 2019, his heart stopped beating. No parent should bury their child. But just as their son Philip Mathews' start-to-life was with challenges, so it was with his end-of-life.
Join us as we continue to stand up and be a voice for these children who do not have a voice. Philip's story continues through the life of our patients, partners, donors, and friends. Let us work together to share love and acceptance for each child born with congenital facial differences.
The specialist confirmed what my obstetrician saw in our first ultrasound. Our baby had a cleft lip, cleft palate, and a ventricular septal defect. However, it was what he could not find that concerned him. He could not find the baby’s stomach. While there could be multiple reasons for the absent stomach, the most likely diagnosis was a diaphragmatic hernia. Basically, the stomach was trapped in the lung cavity, which wouldn’t allow the lungs to develop and function at the time of birth.
“There is no hope that this baby will live.” According to our specialist, with all the birth defects, the best medical option was an abortion.
Shock, grief, disbelief and so many questions flooded our minds as we left the office. After we reached home, our pastor, V.P. Abraham, gathered with us to pray. As we wept before the Lord, God gave Pastor Abraham a word from Jeremiah 18:3-4.
“Then I went down to the potter’s house, and, behold, he wrought a work on the wheels. And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it. “
The verse was a beautiful illustration of the miracle we believed would take place for our baby. Even though the potter’s vessel was marred, he did not discard it, but used the same clay to make another vessel. We put our trust in God and His Word. The Bible says that Jesus Christ not only died for our sins, but also for our sickness and diseases. His sufferings on the cross and His resurrection not only ensured eternal life for those who believed on him, but also clearly shows that by His stripes, we were (already) healed! We started to pray to the Father in Heaven in the name of Jesus Christ in the Holy Spirit!
The news of the poor prognosis for our baby spread to our relatives and friends throughout the world. People were praying for us. The following weekend was our annual church revival meeting. The visiting minister, Pastor Vaidyan, called Santhosh and myself up to the front of the church for prayer. As Santhosh placed his hands on my stomach, the whole assembly began to intercede for us. Later, Santhosh said he felt fire in his hands. We believed that God was healing our baby.
The following week, we were sent to a pediatric cardiologist so that an echocardiogram could be done to check the baby’s heart. He confirmed that there was one large hole in the heart wall; plus, there were many smaller holes, he could not count them. Sometimes the holes will close on their own, he advised. However, open heart surgery may be performed based on the baby’s health at delivery. Honestly, after we left his office, I was a little stunned. I thought our baby was healed when we believed in the Word and after the revival meetings. But then it was as if God put the song “Whose report will you believe, we shall believe the reports of the Lord!” into my heart. I encouraged Santhosh and myself with the song. God would heal our baby! All of our doctors met with us to review all the test results the next week. They could not find any genetic reason to indicate a cause for our baby’s birth defects. “It’s a one in a million fluke.” The specialist then began the follow-up ultrasound. He shook his head while staring at the screen, which frightened us. Then he said, “There’s the stomach! This baby has a chance for life; all the other defects are surgically correctable.” We gave all praise and thanks to God for His answer to prayer and great faithfulness.
The Word tells us that Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. I know that the God who created a stomach, where there was no stomach can in the same way straighten the spine that is curved. He alone can change the hopeless situations and turn it into one full of hope. He is the God of all hope.
Philip finished his earthly journey on October 22, 2019 after 19 incredible years on this earth. He went through 25 surgeries and passed away after his 25th surgery. He lived a full life and never wasted a moment! His motto was that he would work “Until the World is Cleft-Free” and “Until there are No More Sold!”
We as his parents and his siblings have decided that we will honor his legacy and work until #PhilipsDream is fulfilled.
Susan and Santhosh
Founders, Love Without Reason