LWB Community Blog

Billy’s Fight

At the end of October, a tiny baby boy was born in rural China. I always try not to, but it’s so easy for my mind to go to the moment of his birth, and wonder whether his parents were excited, nervous….happy or scared. I am sure very quickly they realized that something wasn’t quite right. The baby was very blue and so weak when he came into our hands that I wonder if he ever gave that first cry heralding that he was now part of this world. Shortly after being abandoned, his orphanage called us and told us it was urgent that he get medical treatment right away, and thankfully we had an open bed at our Heartbridge healing unit, and so he made the trip to Beijing almost immediately.

Heart tests and exams showed he needed surgery right away. Billy, as he came to be called, was born with Tetralogy of Fallot, and the surgeons told us that his was a case that could not wait. And so this six pound little boy was moved to Shanghai to prepare for his complex operation, but there was something no one had anticipated. Right as Billy had been moved to Heartbridge, chickenpox broke out among all the babies there. In case you’re not aware, having surgery when you’ve been exposed to this virus can be quite dangerous, but Billy’s heart could not wait as his oxygen levels were in the 50-60% range.  Even though he was extremely weak and underweight, the decision was made that surgery had to be done to save his life.

Immediately following the operation, his oxygen levels went up to almost 95%. We cried tears of joy and all celebrated as the reports came in. But then came bad news – Billy’s chickenpox began while he was in the ICU, and his health began to fail quickly.

Yesterday I was preparing myself to have to share the news with our supporters that Billy had not survived. His tiny body was filling with fluid and the doctors told us he was losing his fight. We cried tears of sorrow and began praying that he wouldn’t be in pain and that somehow he would find the strength to keep battling. Again and again yesterday we were told that was impossible. And then…. late last night….we got the news that he had suddenly opened his eyes. His heart rate had stabilized; his kidneys had begun working again, and the worst of the chickenpox virus seems to have been cleared. The doctors in China used a word that always makes my heart feel joy – they used the word “hopeful”, and they asked if we wanted to keep trying. Of course you know the answer to that question.

We know Billy is not out of the woods. We also know that this is Billy’s own fight, and that if his small body reaches a point where he can’t do it anymore, then we have to let him go as peacefully as possible. But he seems to have found the strength to try one more time, and if he is still fighting then I believe we need to cheer him on as long as he needs us to. Billy has been fighting on his own to cling to this life since the day he was born, and we don’t want him to do this alone. We ask you to stand with us in lifting up this baby and in helping us to raise the funds to give him every chance at surviving. His hospital bills to date are over $14,000 – and he still is in the ICU so those bills will continue to climb. Any amount towards his care would be such a blessing and can be donated here.  Every dollar to me is a message that we are not giving up on his life. I know he is one small baby in a very big world – but he is a baby who deserves so much more in his life than he has experienced so far. Thank you for praying for a second chance for Billy. We are always so grateful for your generosity and kindness to those who are orphaned. Let’s keep sending positive thoughts his way and continue hoping that this little boy shows us all again that the human spirit cannot be defined.

Amy Eldridge
Executive Director

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