Little Red Scarf is in 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.
Hao Yu is a cute and shy little boy who is one year and nine months old. He looks more mature than most kids his age. He is from the Yao tribe in Yunnan. Both of his parents are farmers, and they own 0.3 acres of land. Their annual income is around 10,000 RMB ($1,500 USD).
There are 8 people in Hao Yu's family. Both of his great grandparents are approaching their 90's and need assistance. It costs several thousand dollars to cover their medical expenses. Both of Hao Yu's grandparents are almost 60 years old. Hao Yu also has an older sister who is 4 years old. This family is mostly composed of seniors and children who are not able to work.
When Hao Yu was 5 months old, he kept getting colds. This led to his diagnosis of an atrial septal defect. His parents spent a lot of time going to the hospital for his checkups. However, the doctor told them that only the hospital in Kunming would be able to perform the surgery for their son. The surgical expenses would be tens of thousands of dollars, which is an astronomical figure for this poor family.
Little Red Scarf Visits
Hao Yu was taking a nap when I visited him at the hospital. He looked like he was in a deep sleep. I was whispering to his parents, trying to understand their family situation. His parents told me their life totally depends on the weather. When there is no drought or flood, the harvest is just enough to make ends meet. In the event of natural disasters, they have to rely on social assistance. It is absolutely impossible to save money. Since Hao Yu was diagnosed with the disease, the family was not able to sleep well at night. The four elders at home would cry every time they talked about the child's sickness.
Hao Yu woke up while we were talking. His mother told him to say hi to me. His eyes were barely open. Maybe because he saw me as a stranger, he started to cry. Immediately I took out Little Red Scarf's badge for him to play with, and I pointed to the little person on the badge. Perhaps he was attracted to the pictures and stopped crying. He then pointed to the little person to show me that he knew what was going on. The way he acted made everyone laugh.
I thought how wonderful it is to be a child. He has no idea what heart disease is for him. He would never realize the worry and the stress that his family has to go through. I hope he can stay carefree like the way he is now, have a successful surgery, grow up with good health and happiness, and not have to remember the childhood suffering with his heart problem.
I went to visit the family the second day after Hao Yu's surgery; however, they were not in their room. His roommate told me that his parents had brought him downstairs to play. I was a little concerned because it was only the second day after his surgery. They returned to the room after a while. I told them even though Hao Yu had the surgery, they should still be cautious and not let the child move too much, to prevent colds and complications. They also needed to come back for regular checkups. They were a little embarrassed, saying their son did not want to stay in bed and wanted to go out, but they did not let the child run but held him instead. They thanked me constantly for reminding them. They had no education and had limited understanding. I told them this was a doctor's order. The most important thing is to take care of the child properly without having complications.
On the day of Hao Yu's discharge, I took a photo of their family. I could feel their happiness and longing for a brand new life. Looking at this happy family, I pressed the shutter of the camera gently.
Original article written by Luo Ling, translated by Cindy and Shawn Chung, and edited by Yanyan Zhang and Carolyn D.
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