Author Mitch Albom talks about purpose, family in memoir 'Finding Chika'

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Author Mitch Albom's latest book, "Finding Chika" is straight from his heart. In fact, it is clear to see throughout that he is still deeply mourning that piece of his heart, but within it is an inspiring story about what makes a family.

Chika Jeune arrived at the Have Faith Haiti Orphanage, run by Albom, three years after her mother died in childbirth with her younger brother. Her godmother was no longer able to care for her. Albom, his wife Janine, and the caretakers at the orphanage cared for her along with more than 50 other children in Port-au-Prince. It was at around age 5; they noticed that something was terribly wrong with Chika.

"Chika's face had drooped, you could see that something was the matter with her and the doctor there gave her eye drops as if that was going to help," Albom said. "We brought her to America and we found that she had this terrible brain tumor and they said we can't operate on it and it's going to kill her."

The Alboms could not accept that and decided that they would do everything they could. They traveled the country, even the world, to find treatments that might help save her life. While she outlived the life expectancy doctors gave her thanks to the treatments, in the end, Chika passed away on April 7, 2017.

"It wasn't a choice to take her in, there was no choice, of course we have to take her in, she's one of our kids," Albom said.

Writing the book and traveling around the world is painful for Albom, but he says he "breaks out smiling when I tell some of the funny stories."

Albom added though, he does not plan to write anything new for a while. "This took a lot out of me and my goal is to travel around with this book around the country and around the world and try to spread the message about kids like Chika who need this kind of help and try to raise funds for our orphanage."

He said that Chika taught him about his true purpose. Once, when he told her that he had to go to work, she told him, "No, your job is to carry me." He says it is all of our jobs to carry children, "especially those who are poor, or sick, or forgotten."

For more information on the Have Faith Haiti Mission & Orphanage visit: https://havefaithhaiti.org/
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