_The following is a month update from Little Red Scarf, an organization that helps underprivileged children with congenital heart disease obtain medical care. To learn more about them, please click here. The articles below are written by different staffers about the stories of patients whom they are supporting.
December Angel: LY-144 Xiao Gong
Background on Angel: Female, 1 year old, VSD+PDA+PH+Bi-Tricuspid Regurgitation
First came into contact with LRS on Dec. 12, 2011
"A World Filled with Love"
by Ai Ju, Office Assistant at the LRS Lanzhou Office
Who would have thought that the adorable thirteen-month-old Xiao Gong, exuding with innocence through her beautiful sparkling eyes, is a patient suffering from congenital heart disease?
In a family of six, her 58-year-old grandfather rests at home, as chronic pains in his hips and legs prevent him from working. Gong’s father is away, serving as an apprentice and learning to make stainless steel. He works 10 months a year, making a total of 5000 rmb. Gong’s mother stays home to take care of the elderly and the children. She plants apples and peaches, which provide her with about 5000 rmb after harvest. There is no other source of income for the family. Xiao Gong’s condition was much more dangerous than that of many other children; waiting was no longer an option.
As early as six months ago, the doctor had predicted that Gong’s life was at risk. However, the little savings the family skimped to save were far from enough; being able to pay the medical costs was unthinkable. In May, when Little Red Scarf went to the countryside for promotions, it hosted a free clinic in the elementary school near Xiao Gong’s home. Unfortunately, Xiao Gong was infected with a cold-induced pneumonia and receiving treatments in the hospital. LRS did not get to meet her. It seemed that Little Red Scarf was going to miss Xiao Gong by a narrow chance. Luckily, under the auspices of a government official, the news that Little Red Scarf helped underprivileged children suffering from congenital heart disease spread to Xiao Gong’s home. This information undoubtedly restored hope to Xiao Gong’s life, as the whole family was filled with joy. In June, Xiao Gong’s mother got in touch with LRS staff and applied for funding.
Our lives will always be affected by unexpected events like diseases and suffering, but so long as we confront it together, such calamities will appear insignificant in the face of love. Best wishes to Xiao Gong! We all hope that she gets well soon!
_Moving Stories: LU-136 Wu Xia
"The Flying Red Scarf"
by Yun Yun, Representative of the LRS Lanzhou office
Thinly built, swathed in a think cotton jacket, and wearing a pair of old, crude cloth flats --- this is Wu Xia, quiet and clever as she stands in front of me right now. What captures my attention the most has to be the red scarf on her head, the new red scarf still emitting body heat from her walking over quickly. Because she left home early in the morning, her cheeks appear crimson from the cold; her coarse skin reveal a fairy who had leaped out of nature.
Plain, sincere, self-conscious, and nervous --- this is the first impression Wu Xia’s parents left me when they came to fill out the application form. They relayed to me that the news of Little Red Scarf helping children with congenital heart disease in rural Gansu relieved them of a great deal of stress. With excitement in their voice, they told me about how they saw the Little Red Scarf poster and obtained further explanations from other LRS parents, while hurriedly handing me the documents they prepared for the application: proof of poverty, photo, application form, ID card, copy of a resident permit, and Wu Xia’s ultrasound report. Sifting through the papers, a whiff of the familiar yet acrid aroma of brick kangs came to me. In the winter, rural families use brick beds with a fireplace underneath (kang) to keep warm. The beds generate an unique smell.
There are four people in the family, with less than three acres of land. Their livelihood depends on the whims of the climate. If it happened to be a dry year, harvest yields little to nothing. Both the parents are illiterate. Their oldest daughter just started the sixth grade. The mom was diagnosed with Hepatitis B three years ago, which was fully treated only recently. Their house consists of one room, functioning as both a bedroom and kitchen. Their decrepit shelter and the few chickens roaming around outside constitute all of the family’s property. The family’s only source of income is the father’s earnings from working odd jobs in town during slack season. With an annual income of 1000 rmb, giving each person less than 300 rmb to live on, their anxiety and fear are understandable.
After applying and a quick approval, we were able to admit Wu Xia to the hospital in a day, beginning a series of routine tests and using infusion, combined with medication, to relieve her of pulmonary hypertension. Within eight days, Wu Xia received surgery. However, while operating, the doctors discovered that Wu Xia’s condition was much worse than they initially thought. After seven hours of surgery, Wu Xia was transferred into the ICU. Ten days had passed, Wu Xia’s lungs continued to struggle; she relied on a ventilator to breath. Her parents nervously circled the ICU day after day, hoping that she would survive this crisis. LRS staff went to the hospital to visit Wu Xia and communicated with the child’s attending doctor many times. We tried to provide the parents with care and support.
We pray for Wu Xia, praying that the sweet child can persevere through this time of hardship, so she can go home and spend New Year’s with her parents, wearing her beautiful red scarf once again.
Link to original article here.
_Moving Blog Post: "A Spring without Oxygen," read here.
by Guan Ying, LRS Lanzhou Office Staff
Thank You's from our LRS children and their families. Watch the videos below!:
LY-96 Zhao Bo: http://www.toumingyu.org/elevencaj/videos/1264
LY-137 Yuan Yuan: http://www.toumingyu.org/elevencaj/videos/1264
LY-130 Pei Pei: http://www.toumingyu.org/elevencaj/videos/1322
LY-142 Yu Xuan: http://www.toumingyu.org/elevencaj/videos/1307
LY-133 Xiao Xiao: http://www.toumingyu.org/elevencaj/videos/1315
As of 12/20 this year, LRS has aided 245 patients. We are working hard to make that number 260 by the end of this year, giving 260 families a warm and happy Spring Festival.
As of the 18th of this month, we have been able to get in touch with all of the 27 children who completed their surgeries in August. The parents generally responded that the kids are recovering, which came as a happy surprise to them. Five of the kids have returned to school, with five more to join them after New Year’s. We are incredibly happy to congratulate these 27 healthy and happy kids and families.
This month, we contacted kids in Little Red Scarf Care, we will begin monitoring the studies and lives of these kids and give new updates. LRSC cares about every step these kids take in their growth and hope to grow with them.
Many thanks to parent volunteers for giving the LRS program in rural gansu their help. In 2012, parent volunteers will continue to help us promote our program.
Current Tally (as of 12/20/2011):
Children waiting for surgery: 21
Children admitted to the hospital this month: 28
Children leaving the hospital this month: 24
Children currently in the hospital: 18
Cumulative number of surgeries this year: 245
Total number of surgeries: 646
(Updated until 12/20)
2011 end of the year goal: 800 surgeries
Percentage accomplished: 81%
Translated and edited by East Villagers Intern Sarah Chang
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