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Celebrating Chinese New Year: An Update on Anneke

In celebration of Chinese New Year, we want to bring you updates on two children who were healed through LWB’s Unity Initiative.  This program helps keep families united by providing life-saving surgeries to children living in poverty.  We receive requests every single month from families desperate to provide medical care to their children, but who have no financial means of doing so.  The letters they send us are often heartrending, as was the one written by seven-year-old Anneke’s mom.

In her letter, Anneke’s mom told us that her husband was an orphan from an extremely remote village in Sichuan province. With no parents or relatives to help him, he traveled far from his home in western China to do migrant work in Anhui. After getting married, she and her husband had a beautiful daughter, but then misfortune fell upon them when her husband was injured and unable to work.

Soon after, they discovered that the reason their daughter often became ill was due to a large hole in her heart. They had to borrow money from neighbors simply to have her diagnosed. When they learned of the cost of open heart surgery, they knew there was no hope that they could afford it, even if they sold most of their possessions.

And so Anneke became increasingly ill.

We were so grateful to our supporters who made it possible for Anneke to finally get the surgery she needed this past September. When we first met Anneke, she was so thin and somber. We prayed that improving her heart function would allow her to go on and live a long and healthy life. 

Anneke in the hospital after surgery

Anneke’s only post-op complication, thankfully, was a mild fever, and she was discharged from the hospital soon after her recovery.

Our director in Anhui recently traveled to far northwest Anhui with members of the cardiac hospital to check on Anneke and to deliver some Chinese New Year treats to her family.  After traveling through the rural countryside, they finally made it to Anneke’s home, which had two small rooms and an outer courtyard. It was a very traditional style home for this region, without any doors which can close to protect from the cold.

Our team was greeted warmly. Anneke’s mom and dad excitedly asked everyone to come in and sit, but they soon realized they didn’t have any extra chairs to offer their guests as they have so little. Our team insisted that they were very happy to stand and chat, and they were thrilled to see Anneke looking so strong and well.

Anneke loved the New Year treats our team delivered

As you can see, Anneke has been able to put on much needed weight after her operation, and her parents kept saying how very healthy she feels now.

Anneke shared some extra special news with us as well. Because of how sick she was before, she had been unable to go to school.  But now – with a healthy heart – she told us that she will get to start school right after Chinese New Year. What a special blessing for the Year of the Pig!

We know you will celebrate with us that this beautiful little girl will now be able to get an education.

LWB supporters are the ones who make these stories of hope possible.  In our next blog, we want to share an additional New Year’s update for another wonderful child who found healing through your kindness.

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