Little Red Scarf is in Lanzhou, Gansu 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.
Xiaoqin is 26 years old and very talkative. Chatting with Xiaoqin makes you feel very relaxed. The main difference between Xiaoqin and other patients is that she always expects she can receive surgery someday. She said: “Teacher Yuin, my suffering will be behind and I will have a new beginning. My life will be normal and I can get married with children like many others”. To most of us, there is nothing unusual about this kind of wish but this is what Xiaoqin has wished for in the past 10 years. Today, she can finally make sure her dream will come true. Tomorrow, Sept 05, 2014, is the big day … the day she will have surgery and the day her new, normal life will begin.
When Xiaoqin was 16, school had physical examination for students. She is like other students dreaming about one day they will attend college. After the physical exam, she was singled out and called into teacher’s office. She got very nervous since she had always been falling behind when played with her friends. At home, she always has the privilege of resting at home when her sister, brother help their parents with farm work. Back in her junior high, she became short on breathing in school morning exercise after a short run. Her teacher concerned about this and asked Xiaoqin not to join morning exercise. Her father discussed this with teacher and took her to county hospital for ultra sound checkup the following day. She was diagnosed with congenital heart disease. Doctor explained what is wrong and suggested heart surgery as early as possible. Xiaoqin’s mom passed away about two years earlier and her father was still recovering from the loss of his wife. Now, her father needs to deal with Xiaoqin’s heart surgery. The whole family seemed to be in a black hole all of a sudden. A simple frolic became a luxury. Xiaoqin told us the person who suffered the most is her father. He needs to deal with the pressure from both physical and mental. This is something hard for children to understand until one day they become parents themselves.
Xiaoqin was thinking that congenital heart disease alone probably won’t stop her from completing her college entrance examination. When she was 17, she had frequent high fever, sometime it reached as high as 41C. She was able to manage this by rubbing her body with cold water and body temperature dropped. When she was proud of what she was doing, another bigger problem took her over. White spots started showing up on her legs and then they are all over her body overnight. It is so itchy that she cannot stop scratching her body. Scratching caused different problem and the pain made her cry and roll over on the ground. Whenever she was suffering from this, she thought about her mom. Her mom was having kidney problem and was losing strength day by day. One day her mom was taken to hospital for urgent care and didn’t come back again. They didn’t have any choice. Their relatives put together some money and took Xiaoqin to a hospital in Lanzhou for treatment. Luckily, her skin problem was getting better in few days. Xiaoqin was hoping to stay in hospital for few more days to complete the treatment but they ran out money and had to go home.
After Xiaoqin back home from the hospital, the skin problem got worse. She had no choice but to quit school and rest at home. The debt from treating her mom’s kidney problem hasn’t paid back. Her father had back injury and no longer able to do any heavy duty physical work. His $6,000 yuan annual income simply is not sufficient. At this junction, Xiaoqin already put her heart disease behind. As long as she still can walk, she can try to find some office work which doesn’t require much physical strength. In 2008, Xiaoqin got an office job in Xinjiang province through referral by her relatives. When she got her first pay check, she cannot wait to go to hospital to continue the treatment of her psoriasis. Psoriasis is a recurring disease and can hardly get cured. Three years went by with this psoriasis. She tried all kinds of treatment recommended by her doctor. As result, she also suffered side effects from these treatment and medicines such as stomach ache, scars on her skin. Luckily the problem was contained, even though it still relapsed. In 2011, her overall condition has turned for the worse. As result, her company politely dismissed her. She has been staying at home since 2011 and there isn’t much she can do about this. She can get tired very easily. Need rest only after few steps of walking. The symptom of her congenital heart disease is getting so obvious even when she is sitting idle she feels difficult breathing. Over these years, her father had paid off their debt and her brother was about to graduate from university. Feel like family’s condition has improved.
Early Sept this year, her father took her to LangZhou university hospital. She can barely walk for few steps without taking a break. In her village, she is the one stayed at home not able to do anything. Doctor estimated it will cost $60,000 yuan to replace the defect heart valve. Her family has only $6,000 yuan from savings in the past two years. They were desperate. They saw Little Red Scarf poster outside doctor’s office. They looked it over and over. Finally her father called Little Red Scarf. They had meeting in office and understood her condition. In the past, Little Red Scarf helped young children with heart disease. This is the first case with an adult such as Xiaoqin. However, her condition met Little Red Scarf criteria : congenital heart disease and poor family from rural area. Within 12 hours, her condition for help was approved by Transparent Fish Foundation in the US from the other side of Pacific ocean. Now Xiaoqin can finally stop worring about money for her surgery. She started pre-operative checkups. She was happy as a little child. It is a new beginning. We hope with this case, we can help more people like Xiaoqin. Like what being said by Xiaoqin: “Everything is just the beginning”. We wish Xiaoquin the best and all her dreams come true.
Original article written by YunYun Jie, translated by Joe Hsu, edited by Yanyan Zhang
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