This article is a compilation of letters written by patients to LRS. All of these students received aid from LRS to treat congenital heart disease. They wrote to express gratitude and share stories about their lives. For more information about Little Red Scarf, a grassroots nonprofit that funds medical treatment for rural children with congenital heart disease, please visit: here.
Letter from Xia Xia
Teacher Yun, Teacher Chung:
How are you? How are all the teachers at LRS? Thank you for calling me every once in awhile. I am very touched. Because I have been staying at home, I thought LRS would forget about me. But you all remember me. I am not going to school right now. Same as before, my leg starts to hurt when I walk for long periods of time. Dad is still working at the factory that breaks rocks, trying to save money for my club foot surgery. Teacher, do you think I can ever walk like normal people do? When I go get my surgery, can I come visit you at the cardiology department?
I have been very bored at home. Mom and dad would not let me work; they are very careful with me. It will have been a year by May. They said that I could start working after a year. Sometimes I make my mom mad at home, but I really don’t do it on purpose. At school, my classmates laugh at me for being a cripple. I cannot participate in school-organized activities. So, I don’t like going to school anymore, but it’s scary to not know anything. If my club foot surgery succeeds, I still want to go back to school. Do you think I can do it?
When I’m bored, can I write to you or text you? Are there still a lot of kids in LRS?
Hope your work goes well and take care! (Teacher, when you receive the letter, please call me and let me know, so I won’t worry.)
Note: XiaXia is a patient who received aid from LRS in 2011. She found out that she had congenital heart disease when she was being treated for club foot (congenital talipes equinovarus, a congenital deformity involving one foot or both. The affected foot appears rotated internally at the ankle). The parents got XiaXia to have surgery on her heart immediately. After the surgery, XiaXia recovered well. The LRS office has been in touch with her, encouraging her to feel confident again. Due to her club foot, which makes XiaXia look severely crippled while walking, she cannot take part in school activities. Low self-esteem led her to give up on school. But we send XiaXia our best wishes and hope that she can successfully receive club foot surgery. Then she would be able to go back to school, to an environment that fosters her growth.
Letter from Qi Ming
Dear Aunties and Uncles at LRS, Dear Teacher Yun:
How are you? This is Qi Ming. It’s been a year and a month since I finished my surgery. I am attending school now, in fifth grade. Everyone says I got taller. My family is farming now; and I can help my dad work. Are all the teachers at LRS doing well? Our teachers at school are not as nice as you. They are scary, which is why I am afraid of them when I can’t finish my homework. Right now, I rank number 15 in the class. My dad said that if I don’t study hard, he will make me go get a job. It’s just me and my dad. Sometimes I get jealous of other kids. My health is great right now, so I have a lot of energy to play. But sometimes dad scolds me, so I don’t dare play anymore.
Now, a lot of people in our village knows about LRS. They envy dad and me. Dad and I are very happy as well. We are lucky to have met LRS. Dad always tells other people that its LRS that save my life. He says I have to always remember LRS and thank LRS. He says that if I do well in school, LRS will be glad. Is that true? I will study hard.
Note: This is a letter that Qi Ming wrote on March 25 to the LRS office. There are some misspellings which we corrected in parenthesis (excluded in the translation). Qi Ming is all grown up; he can write letters now. We have called Qi Ming and told him that we received the letter. We said that we hope to receive his letters periodically, which made the kid really happy. Let’s look forward to Qi Ming’s next letter!
Letter from Fang Di
Hi, Teacher Yun. This is Fang Di. Do you remember me? My health is much more restored now. I will go back to school this semester. Mom and dad have been busy with work in the fields, but they won’t let me do chores, scared that it might hurt my body. All the teachers at school try to accommodate me. I don’t have to do morning exercises right now. All my friends know that my backpack is a gift from LRS; they are all jealous. I am in the seventh grade. My coursework is not bad. After surgery, I have been studying at home, so I am not really struggling right now. I will always remember all the help you have given me. I will study hard and strive to become just like you, so I can help other kids just like me. Here, I just want to say “thank you” again. I know how much you will always care for me. I will work hard! :)
Letter from Lina
YunYun sister, and Chang sister,
I came back from Lanzhou long time ago, and now I am in school. In more than a month, I will be taking an exam. Last month, the province's first mock examinations were not very satisfactory... Because I had to go to Lanzhou, I did not have much time to study. Every day I had to get up at 6 A.M. and sleep at 12:00 A.M., to barely stay on top of my schoolwork.
Now I really feel the importance of managing time, and sometimes I do not know how to use or spare time. Although I am tired, I still feel very capable, and I hope that I won’t have to regret anything through my efforts!
Letter from Zhongshe
Sister, hello! This is Zhongshe. Last semester, I got 4th place in my class rank. Thank you for all of your concern. Actually, in the beginning, I was able to keep in touch with you all, but after my teacher took away my cell phone, I couldn’t contact you. But now I can reach you all again. I had a good time during the semester, and I have been working hard. Teachers have been really strict on us. My body condition got much better than before. I now weigh 100 kilos! Normally, I will need to spend 20 RMB per day in school.
In a few days we will be going to take the final test. But please trust me, I will do well on this test.
Letter from Wen Juan
Teacher Yun, Teacher Chang, hello:
I was discharged for a long time, but you guys still call me and care about me. My family and I are very touched. Now, both of my two brothers work outside and only come back once a year. My home gets busy when I am not going to school. I can help my mom pull weeds and do some simple work. Now I can even cook dinner for my mother. Every evening after school, after mom gets back, she can eat the food I cook. Hehe, not so easy right? Last semester I was in the class rank of 12. In Chinese I got a grade of 96, which is an A+, and English was 98, when the average was 88. After this semester I will be in 6th grade. I will study hard! I welcome LRS’s uncle and aunts to come to my home. We planted the apple tree in our home, and I can also cook for you guys. I hope you have a successful work!
Xia Xia: http://www.toumingyu.org/vivian/story/8636/,
Qi Ming: http://www.toumingyu.org/vivian/story/8635/,
Fang Di: http://www.toumingyu.org/guanying/story/8637/,
Wen Juan: http://www.toumingyu.org/elevencaj/story/8726/.
Original letters posted by YuJie Zhen & Ying Guan. Translated and edited by EV interns Sarah Chang & Isabel Auyeung.
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