Little Red Scarf is in Lanzhou, Gansu and Yunnan province and provides financial support and encouragement to children suffering from congenital heart disease. In addition, they provide families with post-operative care and help the children sustain a healthy lifestyle.
Ruijing underwent congenital heart disease surgery in March of 2013 (http://www.toumingyu.com/project/2313/). and never came back for her post-surgery checkup. Her father was experiencing back pains and was unable of working on the farm, making her mother the main caretaker of the family. In addition, the Minxian earthquake destroyed their home, and after finishing building their house, they fell into debt.
Since there was no work available in the area, Ruijing's mother picked cotton in a neighboring province for four months to pay off some of the debt. By the time she came home, it has already been a year and a half since Ruijing's surgery.
On the morning of December 4th, I got a call from Ruijing’s mother telling me that they are at the hospital and asking me when I will be there. I told her that I am in a meeting right now and that she should go ahead and complete the checkup first. I will probably be at the hospital by the time you finish the checkup. Her mother told me she will do that and asked me to bring photos we took of Ruijing before her surgery. She wanted memory of all that they have overcome in this period of time.
As soon as I entered the hospital, I saw little Ruijing waiting for me at the door. After 18 months of not seeing her, if I saw her on the street, I would not have recognized that this little girl with the cute pigtails is the little Ruijing and came here for surgery.
I gave the photos to Ruijing, and she could not wait to see them. She told me that she carried her Little Red Scarf backpack with her today. Looking at little Ruijing in the photos and then looking at Ruijing in front of me, I thought about many things. If her family did not find out that the child had congenital heart disease or did not have enough money to support the child’s surgery, delaying treatment, or if they did not find LRS, would Ruijing still be as healthy as she is today?
Ruijing loved the photos and examined each one carefully. Her mother told me that when they get home she will probably also show them off to her sister, telling her sister that these photos were taken by Little Red Scarf staff. Her mother also told me that this year, Ruijing’s grandparents are feeling better than usually, and that although her father cannot do heavy work, he is in charge of all easier farming work. They came to Lanzhou not only to take their child for a checkup, but also to conveniently do a checkup for Ruijing’s father, whose waist condition has exacerbated this year.
The family still needed to pick up Ruijing’s medicine and then catch the train home. I suggested taking a photo with a similar arrangement as the one taken when Ruijing was in the hospital undergoing surgery, with Ruijing holding the original photo. I told Ruiing that next time she comes to Lanzhou, give me a call in advance so I can print out the photos from today and give them to her. She happily agreed. The only regret is that this photo is missing our background painting.
Thoughtful Ruijing brought snacks for Little Red Scarf staff – her family’s fried soy. She told me that when she grows up, she will be able to carry more soybeans. She is small now, so she could only carry a little bit. I was very touched and teary-eyed. Thank you little Ruijing for your care and snacks. I also look forward to seeing an older Ruijing with more soybeans.
Original blog written by Yujie Yun, translated by EV Intern Allison Zhang
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