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.
I saw a young father carrying a child in his arms, pacing worriedly in the hospital. Anxiety and fatigue were evident on his face.
Zhiyan's family of four lives in a small mountainous village in Kangle County. Although they are not rich, they should have been able to live simply but happily. Unfortunately, life for little Zhiyan is not so happy.
The family owns just 10 mu (about 1.5 acres) of mountainous land, on which they can only plant some soybeans, wheat, and potatoes. The annual harvest is barely enough to feed and clothe the family. The family’s only property consists of 3 one-story houses made from mud bricks.
Over the past two years, Zhiyan has gotten sick often, and the grandmother had been seriously ill. The father could not work in the cities like the others because he needed time to look after his family. He could only farm and herd animals.
Last year he heard that female ginseng sells well at high prices, so he bought 10,000 yuan ($1,500 USD) worth of female ginseng seedlings. After one year of planting, however, he only earned 5,000 yuan back. He also raised a dozen sheep to lift up his family economically. Unfortunately, last year, a sheep plague went around the village, and out of the ten sheep that were supposed to help the family economically, four died, and one whole year of hard work went to waste.
Zhiyan's Health Problems
When Zhiyan was about to be born, her mother was diagnosed with hypertension when getting a checkup in the county hospital. Because the county hospital has limited capabilities, it would not take in the mother. She had to transfer to a maternity and childcare hospital and undergo a cesarean section there.
When they thought the stress was finally over, Zhiyan was diagnosed with a hernia. Because her illness was not severe, the hospital gave her basic treatment. The doctor told her parents that they needed to watch her closely.
After little Zhiyan was born, her mother was in critical condition and was transferred to the ICU. Although she was only there for one day and one night, it cost over 11,000 yuan ($1,700 USD). What the family also did not expect was that, although they paid close attention, when little Zhiyan was 7 months old, her hernia became more and more severe. Seeing no alternatives, the family sent the child to Lanzhou for a hernia operation. But because the child was too young at the time for them to apply for the New Rural Cooperative insurance plan, they had to pay in full the hospital fee of more than 39,000 yuan ($6,000 USD). The family struggled to pay the cost.
Zhiyan had a successful surgery on March 31, 2016. However, because her lungs were not working very well, she spent 12 days in the ICU.
On April 12th, Zhiyan’s condition finally got better, and she was transferred from the ICU to the normal ward. When her mother saw little Zhiyan, she had tears in her eyes.
At such a young age Zhiyan has experienced hardships that many adults have not, yet it has not dampened her spirits. Instead, she cooperates very well with the doctors to get IVs, inhalations, and blood drawn.
April 18th is a particularly happy day for this family because little Zhiyan will be leaving the hospital and finally embarking on her new life journey. Her father and mother finally have big smiles on their faces and thank Little Red Scarf for the help it has given them. And we hope that this family will begin on their journey of happiness.
Original article written by Wang Li, translated by Allison Zhang, edited by Carolyn D.
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