FangFang is a 2-year-old boy born with retinoblastoma (eye cancer). When he came to the Special Care Nursery at the China Care Home last August, his left eye was atrophied, which required removal, but we were hoping the right eye could be saved.
Unfortunately, doctors found that the cancer cells had metastasized to the optic nerves so FangFang had to lose both eyes. After the surgeries, FangFang also needed six rounds of chemotherapy.
For the past six months, FangFang has spent half that time in hospital. During his hospitalizations, FangFang’s China Care nannies continued to look after him. FangFang only drank milk and refused to eat any solid food even when his nannies fed him spoonful by spoonful. He would spit out the food in his mouth.
Our nannies tried different ways to help him learn to eat. First they fed him milk with a spoon. At the beginning, FangFang didn’t know there was milk in the spoon so he refused to open his mouth. But when he realized it was his familiar food, he began to try the milk. In this way, he gradually got familiar with the spoon. Then our nannies put different food in the spoon and persuaded him to taste it. Feeding him took a long time, but he finally learned to eat solid food. Now his favorite food is dessert!
FangFang used to sleep during the day and play at night. We created a schedule to help him get to sleep at a reasonable hour. Wake at 6 a.m., nap at 12:30 p.m., and sleep at 9 p.m. During the day, the nannies played with him and didn’t let him stay in bed. Because he didn’t sleep much during the day, he slept at night. Now, he knows when to eat, play and sleep.
FangFang is lucky to have so many nannies caring for him around the clock. With their help, he can say some simple words like “mama” and “grandpa.” Sometimes, he hums a song “Ocean… Ocean.” When the nannies call his name, he gradually moves his body toward the direction of the sound.
As of April, FangFang has completed chemotherapy and has since been discharged from the Special Care Nursery. Though he can’t see the world, we know he can feel the love from people around him.
HuiJun came to the Special Care Nursery at the China Care Home in Beijing last year as a 1-year-old little girl who was born with a cleft lip and palate, a deformation in her left hand, and no right arm. In just 10 months, HuiJun underwent three surgeries.
Her first surgery was to repair her cleft lip. After HuiJun was discharged from the hospital, she recuperated quickly under the loving eye of her foster mom.
HuiJun didn’t let her disabilities hold her back. Because of her hand deformity, she practiced using her toes a lot. When her foster mom put a toy in front of her, she moved her body towards it and then used her foot to reach for the toy. Her foster mom encouraged her to keep trying until she could pick the toy up with her toes.
HuiJun would use her left arm to support herself and became very adept at crawling on her left side, which soon led to walking. Though balancing was difficult at the beginning, with persistent practice she learned to walk a few steps on her own.
Six months after her first surgery, HuiJun had surgery on her hand so that she could finally move her thumb and little finger separately. After she healed, her foster mom helped her practice lifting or pinching small objects. We were all so proud of the progress she made. HuiJun’s final surgery in April was to repair her cleft palate.
Every time HuiJin would return to the Special Care Nursery from the hospital she would be thrilled to see her foster mom, holding on to her tightly and crying when other people held her.
Now, nearly a year after she arrived, HuiJun can use her fingers to reach for the cookies in her foster mom’s hand and eat them. Sometimes she uses both her hands and feet to accomplish tasks.She can say and understand a few words, such as “come here,” “eye,”“ear” and “kiss.” We are all so happy that HuiJin has become such a healthy, happy little girl.
At the end of last year, when she was 6 months old, tiny YeWen arrived at the Special Care Nursery from the Chuzhou Welfare Institution struggling for every breath she took. She had complex congenital heart defects: Tetralogy of Fallor (four heart defects that affect the heart's structure), a hole between the upper two chambers of her heart, and lung complications as well. These conditions left her with a heart murmur and a blue pallor from lack of oxygen-- when she arrived, her doctors discovered that her body oxygen concentration was only 34 percent.
YeWen was immediately placed on oxygen. Our nannies were told to keep her warm and to feed her small amounts of food frequently to ensure that she received enough nutrition. YeWen's poor lung functions meant that the nurse had to use a suction catheter to suck out phlegm when she coughed. She also suffered from edema and labored breathing.
Our nannies worked extra hard to care for YeWen, holding her constantly and feeding her patiently. Despite the extra care, YeWen contracted chicken pox two weeks after she arrived. She became extremely weak, and we even prepared ourselves mentally to lose her. But no one gave up, and YeWen, our tiny fighter, pulled through. A few months ago, we took YeWen to see a famous cardiologist.
After a series of checkups, the cardiologist expressed confidence that YeWen could get better after heart surgery. The surgery was a success! After a week in the ICU, YeWen was discharged from the hospital. We were all thrilled to welcome her back and see her pink lips, a sign that her oxygen levels were finally normal.
Happily, YeWen's condition has remained stable since her surgery. She takes heart medication every day and eats and sleeps well--her improved health is obvious. She gets excited when she sees the bottle in the nanny’s hands and begins to wave her arms. When lying on her back, she also kicks her legs or plays with her hands.
We will continue taking good care of YeWen so her heart can make a full recovery and she can live a long and healthy life.
With the help of Global Giving donors and other generous supporters, we have been able to establish and operate a Special Care Nursery at The China Care Home in Beijing. We are so grateful to our generous Global Giving donors for helping make this dream for the children come true.
Over the last year, your donations have helped improve the lives of many children, including YiNa, a 10-month-old baby girl fully recovered from heart surgery; ZhuangWei, a now happy toddler who endured grueling chemotherapy for retinoblastoma with his loving nanny by his side; and NiNi, a happy infant girl expected to fully recover from spina bifida, Chiari malformation, and hydrocephalus surgeries.
To continue our work, we are asking for donations to help defray the cost for the Special Care’s Nursery for the next two years. We are confident that with your help we will be able to continue to provide specialized and often lifesaving medical treatment and nurturing for fragile infants like SiYu.
When SiYu first came to The China Care Home, she was less than one month old and weighed only 2.5 kg. Tiny SiYu was carefully nurtured at our Special Care Nursery until she was big enough to have surgery to repair her cleft lip. After recuperating for a month at the Special Care Nursery, SiYu went back to the Baotou Social Welfare Institution where she was enrolled in Half the Sky’s Infant Nurture Program. With the patient care of her trained Half the Sky nanny, SiYu became stronger. When her doctors said she was ready, she returned to The China Care Home for surgery to repair her cleft palate.
SiYu is at The China Care Home and recovering well for her second surgery. She has grown up to be a beautiful girl. She can walk slowly by herself and speak some simple words. She has curly hair and looks like a doll. What she likes most is looking into the mirror. She shakes her head or makes faces in front of the mirror and observes her reflection carefully.
When SiYu hears music, she can’t help making some dancing movements like stretching her arms, waving her hands, or shaking her head. All the nannies in the room love to watch her dancing and listen to her happy laughter, but when she notices others paying attention she gets embarrassed and covers her face with her hands.
Thanks to the love and medical care she received, SiYu is now a healthy and happy girl!
YiNa was a 7-month-old, tiny, listless baby when she was admitted to The China Care Home. She was immediately taken to the hospital for tests where she was diagnosed with (ventricular septal defect: a 4.4mm hole in her heart). Two days later, she was hospitalized for heart surgery.
The surgery was grueling, but it went well, and YiNa began the long road to recovery. She spent five days in the ICU and another week in the hospital before she returned to The China Care Home.
Under the doting care of The China Care Home's nannies and medical team, YiNa continues her recuperation. Every day, the staff at The China Care Home makes sure that YiNa receives the three kinds of heart medications prescribed by her doctors.
In addition, her nannies play with her and talk to her every day. Slowly YiNa has become stronger. First she started moving her body around on the mat. Then she started grabbing the toys near her, especially the ones that make sounds. Now when YiNa sees the toys on the baby gym, she fiddles with them right away to make sure they make sounds!
Now 8 months old, YiNa's is a smiling, babbling, merry baby, who periodically bursts into joyous laughter. Recently everyone at The China Care Home cheered when YiNa sat up on her own for the first time!
In two months, YiNa will have a full medical checkup, We hope it will confirm what the doctors expect—that YiNa has made a full recovery and has a normally functioning heart!
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