LWB Community Blog


Stories of Hope: Frannie

We first met four-year-old Frannie back in June. This sweet little girl had been born with a large Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD) in her heart. With this medical condition, blood flows through the lower chambers of the heart into the lungs, forcing them to work harder. Over time, a large VSD can lead to the development of pulmonary hypertension, stroke, and sadly even heart failure.

Frannie’s mom had written an emotional letter to LWB asking for help for her daughter. She told us that Frannie had been weak since birth, prone to fevers and colds, and often needing to be rushed to the hospital when she fell ill. When a doctor finally told the mom this year that Frannie had a heart defect, her world fell apart.

She ran home to tell her family the news, and it was then that her husband revealed that he had known about Frannie’s VSD since her birth. He learned the news while his wife was still in the hospital after her C-section, but he and the extended family decided to withhold this information from Frannie’s mom as they felt it would devastate her emotionally. They had been holding onto hope that Frannie’s VSD would close on its own, which does sometimes happen when the hole is small.

Frannie’s VSD was too large, however, and surgery was the only option to prolong her life. The entire family felt a sense of true despair. As struggling farmers, they had no possible way to afford the operation their little girl needed.

Thanks to the support of our LWB community, Frannie was accepted into our Unity Initiative. This special program helps keep families united through life-changing medical care, and thankfully all the funds needed for Frannie’s operation were able to be raised.

Frannie was soon admitted to the Hefei High-Tech Cardiovascular Hospital in Anhui for her pre-op testing.

We were happy to learn that Frannie’s VSD would be able to be closed by catheter. This less-invasive procedure threads a small mesh device into the heart. The mesh is then flattened against the defect to permanently seal the hole. Frannie sailed through her cath procedure and was soon resting comfortably back on the hospital ward.

Within days, Frannie was out of her hospital bed and feeling better than ever. She told our team that she wanted to go home as quickly as possible, as she had a baby brother at home whom she was missing so much. When she got the great news that she would soon be discharged, we were finally able to see that Frannie has the most amazing set of dimples!

Our team knew that Frannie would be celebrating her fifth birthday later this month, so they decided to make the journey to her hometown to check on how she is doing five months post-surgery. She is staying with her mom and grandma, as her father went to another province hoping to earn money as a migrant worker. Granny told us that Frannie can now run and play energetically just like other children and has gained much-needed weight. She hasn’t had a single cough or cold since the heart repair was completed. 

Doesn’t she look amazing?

We also got to meet the adorable baby brother Frannie was so anxious to get home to after her surgery. She is always such a big help to her mom keeping him entertained.

Frannie showed our team that she can now manage her chores, such as caring for the family’s chickens and gathering eggs.

She can also help her grandma gather vegetables.

Frannie wanted us to send those who made her surgery possible a huge THANK YOU!

All of us at LWB also extend our gratitude to everyone who supports our Unity Initiative for impoverished families. How wonderful it is that this beautiful little girl has a new and healthy future in front of her now, thanks to your kindness.

Want to help give second chances to more children like little Frannie? Make a year-end donation today to our Power of Hope campaign and bring healing to children around the world.

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  • Susan Anderson says:

    Frannie, I am so happy your heart surgery went well and it’s wonderful that you are home and having fun and staying healthy. You are so loved. ??

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