Little Red Scarf is in Lanzhou, Gansu and Yunnan provinces 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.
Ruyi, 10, comes from a rural village in Honghe prefecture of Yunnan province. When you hear the name Ruyi, you would probably imagine a child who is a lovely cute girl. Actually, Ruyi is a naughty boy.
When he was 2.5 years old, he was diagnosed with congenital heart disease. His father was disabled and could not do field work. The whole family relies on his grandfather’s pension of about 1,000 RMB per month ($150 USD) and minimum life allowance paid by the government to his father. Ruyi’s illness created an even more difficult situation for the family. As a result, his mother left the family, leaving Ruyi and his sister behind. His older sister dropped out of school due to poverty.
When I met Ruyi in the hospital, he was shy. When he told me he was 10, I was surprised, since he was thin and short, smaller than his peers. He told me he came alone from the village and found his aunt who is working in Kunming. I praised him for that. He said he had gotten used to being independent. His aunt said he had been taking care of himself since he was quite young. His father is handicapped, so he had to come on his own. After his mother left, he was living with his grandmother. Then his grandmother died. His aunt had been trying her best to seek treatment for Ruyi. Two years ago, he had an operation in a hospital in Kunming, but he was not healed. Last year, they applied for support from Red Cross but received no reply. When they were feeling desperate, they received the call from LRS, telling them Ruyi could be supported for an operation.
The operation was done the day after Ruyi came to Kunming. When I visited him again, he was having breakfast. His aunt said the operation lasted for 4 hours, and Ruyi behaved well. The doctor praised him, saying he was brave. His aunt said he cherished the opportunity very much and cooperated well with the doctor.
I visited him again before he was discharged from the hospital. He was not in the ward. His aunt said he must have gone out to find his patient friends. When I went out of the ward, I saw he was following the doctor around. I joked with him, asking if he liked to see the doctor check other patients. He said he was curious about many things and wanted to do many things as well. His eyes were full of enthusiasm. I was touched at the moment. Many people take health for granted, but it seemed so precious to him.
When we went back to the ward, I asked to take a picture of him. He seemed stiff in front of the camera. I asked him to smile a little bit. He smiled shyly. His aunt told me that although he was unlucky and experienced a lot, he met kind people. They thanked LRS.
I received a text just now, telling me that Ruyi was discharged and sent off back to his hometown. We hope everything goes well with him and that he will grow up happily and healthfully. We hope all his dreams will come true.
Original article written by Lin Luo, translated by Maggie Li, and edited by Yanyan Zhang and Carolyn D.
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