Mimi was diagnosed with congenital heart disease at the age of five. When she was 13 she had heart surgery funded by Little Red Scarf. Mimi has suffered from scoliosis since childhood and has never been treated.
During the 8-year period that Mimi’s diagnosed congenital heart disease went untreated, if the teachers had not realized the seriousness of her condition and persuaded the family to let Mimi drop out of school, her parents would not have considered surgery for her. The parents delayed her treatment mostly due to lack of money to pay for the surgery. Fortunately, Mimi got the opportunity from Little Red Scarf and was able to have surgery completed in April 2012.
When she came for surgery, we found out her shoulders are not level. The right shoulder is significantly higher than the left shoulder. The right scapula is also higher. Mimi is very shy, even in the hospital ward, so she would put her coat on by herself. She did not want other people to see her back was different from others. Having seen her lack of confidence and insecurity, we did not take any pictures of her back during the time she was admitted in the hospital.
Mimi’s father only finished elementary school, and her mother is illiterate. They have fourteen acres of land. The main crops are corn and wheat. Wheat is the main food source for the family, and corn is used for cattle. The family has three cows and two calves. The family’s annual income is mostly from selling cattle.
They renovated their more than twenty years old house last year. The house was unsafe to live in for years, and they have been dragging on for years to repair it. It wasn’t until the leaking was bad enough they had finally decided to mortgage and renovate their house.
The three daughters are all in school. Family expenses are high. Mimi is in the first year of junior high school, due to her disease. One of the sisters is in the third year of junior high school, and both of them live on campus. Their school is about 20 km away from home. The school provides free boarding, but charges a meal plan of 50 RMB per student. On top of this, the family gives each child 20 RMB so they could come home once a week. The roundtrip bus fare is 10 RMB; the remaining 10 RMB is used for purchasing school supplies and for pocket money. The youngest sister goes to elementary school and also lives in school. Her living expense is 35 RMB a week. Luckily her school is only five kilometers away from home so the father can drop off and pick up his daughter every week. This saves the transportation expenses. The total cost for the three children’s school expense is 10,000 RMB.
Mimi’s father felt that her scoliosis only affected Mimi’s appearance and wasn’t life-threatening, so he kept on delaying the surgery. His priority is having the family live in a safe house and meet their everyday needs. The safety of the family is far more important than the aesthetic appearance of the child. Thanks to your support, Mimi can finally get treatment for her scoliosis.
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