Keeping Families Together
In 2005 one of the LWB directors was traveling to our cleft exchange in Henan Province. On the train he saw a young couple holding a baby boy with cleft lip, and the mother was quite distraught. After watching them for a while, he introduced himself and asked where they were going. It was then that the mom broke down and told him that they were from a province far out west. They did not have the funds to pay for the surgery to repair their baby’s cleft lip, and so their extended family had told them that they must abandon the child so as not to bring shame to the family. They were so ashamed by what they felt they had to do that they were traveling all the way across China to abandon him. When our director called to let us know what was happening on the train, we decided to encourage the couple bring him to the cleft exchange site so that our medical team could repair their baby’s lip. Instead of returning home to their home province in despair, they joyfully returned home with a baby who had been healed. For many years we have remained in touch with them, and the family is doing beautifully. It was experiences like this chance encounter that made us realize that perhaps we could help rural families stay together, instead of having to make the terrible and tragic decision to abandon their child in the hopes that their children would then receive medical care.
LWB’s Unity Fund was established to assist rural, impoverished families with medical costs they simply cannot afford for their children. We have helped nearly 20 families (most of whom had children requiring heart surgeries) through this fund. Over half of these requests for help came in 2011. To be sure the funds are being used appropriately, we require proof of poverty by Civil Affairs in China. In fact, our China Medical director recently commented that, “they all looked very poor. All of them. In some way, these kids are in worse condition than orphanage kids, except that they have parents…” As we help more families, we believe that we are going to receive more and more requests.
The families of Jaimei, Yao and Feng all were able to receive assistance through LWB’s Unity Fund. Yao and Jaimei are both recovering from their heart surgeries, while travel arrangements are being made for Feng and his family.
We would like to introduce you to two more children in need of our help: YiYi and Rui.
YiYi is only four months old and has a serious heart defect. Her family has wiped out their savings to pay for her recent pneumonia treatment and cannot afford her heart surgery. They were desperate and felt the only way they might be able to save their daughter’s life was to give her up so she could receive the surgery she needs. LWB has committed to helping this family stay together by providing the heart surgery YiYi needs to live.
Smiley Rui has an arteriovenus fistula in his leg and needs a very specialized surgery that his family cannot afford. Before discovering that Rui suffered from this condition, his family spent their life savings to pay for surgery for his father who has a very similar issue.
Both YiYi and Rui are in need of funding. If you would like to support LWB’s Unity Fund and the families of YiYi and Rui, please go to our Unity Fund donation page. Your donation will keep these families together and whole.