Musician George Dennehy will headline Holt’s upcoming dinner & auctions in Portland on September 28, 2019 and Seattle on November 16, 2019. Born without arms to a family living in poverty in Romania, George barely survived his life in an orphanage before a family came forward to adopt him. Today, George tours the country advocating for children growing up orphaned, abandoned and vulnerable — to show how sponsorship can save the lives of children like him.
George is a youth pastor, a father and a talented musician. But because he was born without arms, George uses his feet and toes to do anything that he would do with arms and hands – including writing songs, and playing the guitar and piano. Known professionally as George Dennehy, he also goes by “that armless guy.”
When George was born, his family couldn’t give him the support he needed. His physical difference also carried a heavy stigma, as it still does today in so many places around the world. They brought George to an orphanage, where he laid in his crib alone every day.
No one in the orphanage gave him the love and care he needed to grow and develop. As a tiny baby, George was malnourished and sick.
“I was neglected and abandoned,” he says. “So much to the point where a doctor put a death card on my crib.”
But the doctors never wrote a date and time of passing on his death certificate. As George waited alone in the orphanage, the certificate stayed on his crib for a year and a half.
Then, a family came for him. They adopted George and brought him home — leaving the death note incomplete.
Now, George uses his story and gifts to advocate for children like him.
He writes and plays songs about love, faith and his own story — abandonment, physical difference, adoption and God’s redemptive plan. And the themes of his songs, what George cares about most, lend perfectly to child sponsorship.
“When I heard about child sponsorship,” George says, “that turned a light on for me.”
When George thinks of the children who needs sponsors, he thinks of himself. He thinks of children who just need someone to come and make a difference — be the difference — that a child desperately needs.
A sponsor could have protected George from abandonment by giving his family the resources and tools they needed to provide for George, and stay together. If George couldn’t remain with his family, a sponsor could have also given him the care and support he needed while he waited for a loving, permanent family through adoption.
“I didn’t have arms, but also, my biological parents were living in poverty,” he says. “I look back, and all it would have taken is sponsorship to save me from being abandoned like that in the orphanage.”
Sponsors give hope to children. They become part of the child’s story — giving them the nurturing, one-on-one care they would not otherwise receive.
For George, he decided that his story and music could be used for something greater. And every time he goes on stage, he encourages the crowd to step up for a child in need. He encourages them to sponsor.
Mai Anh Boaz | Digital & Content Marketing Specialist