LWB Community Blog

‘Tis the Season to Give…. and Receive

When LWB started its Unity Fund this year, we hoped to help rural families who otherwise couldn’t afford medical care, with the ultimate goal of keeping families together. We have met many families who have touched us deeply in the past and hoped to be able to help other families like them. Many people gave generously to our Unity Fund both through our website and on Facebook.

The money in this fund has allowed us to provide surgeries for quite a few children over the past couple of months… and this is how we heard about Jing.

Jing is a beautiful 9-year-old girl who had a very severe heart defect called Tetralogy of Fallot (a heart defect that includes four different defects), along with an aortic valve defect. Usually this heart defect is fixed by one year of age; Jing had lived nine years with hers. Jing’s family is from a village in a remote mountainous region of the Shaanxi Province. Her father had taken her to several hospitals in Xi’an to try to find a way to help their daughter. Her family knew that her life was in danger and that she needed her surgery badly. When she arrived at the hospital, where we have found a great heart surgeon named Dr. Lei, her family found out that her surgery would cost 60,000 rmb—close to $10,000 USD. The family knew that there was no way they could afford this surgery. The hospital tried to help, making the bill as low as possible, but the family still couldn’t afford it; they had to take their daughter and leave the hospital. I can only imagine their angst knowing that their daughter wouldn’t be healed.

This family has not only been hard hit with their daughter needing heart surgery, but have faced several other hardships. The family of six, including the grandmother and grandfather, parents, and a sister have had several other medical hardships, including Jing’s grandfather losing an arm in a farming accident, her grandmother having cervical cancer, and her mother suffering from a rare disease that causes her to be regularly unconscious and weak..

We were so overjoyed to be able to let this family know that the money from our Unity Fund would make up the difference needed at the hospital…. and that their daughter would have the opportunity to be healed. Jing is a very sweet girl and so very grateful to have this chance. Our Xi’An hospital monitor, Sherry, overheard Jing tell her father that steamed buns and porridge would be fine since they had so little money; they were eating just one meal a day to save money. Their neighbors from their village had pooled their money together to help pay for Jing and her father’s transportation to Xi’An.

In this season of excess, their story hit all of us exceptionally hard. We knew that we had to do more than just help with this child’s surgery. Sherry started cooking meals at home and bringing them to the hospital, knowing that for Jing to heal well she would need extra nutrition. In addition, our staff in China, upon hearing about Jing’s family, sent money to help them. Our volunteers here in the U.S. heard of her needs and donated money to buy Jing a thick coat, a pair of pants, and a pair of boots.

The very best news of all was that, last Wednesday, Jing had her surgery, and it was a success! Her heart has been healed. It warms my heart to think of all of the love and care, from people all over the world, that has gone into helping this one child. We are grateful to have been able to give this gift to Jing and her family but realize we have received a wonderful gift as well to have crossed paths with Jing.

Karen Maunu
Medical Co-Director

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