Congenital Heart Disease Project

How the Project Began
When A Life A Time Foundation (formally OSCCF) first started in 2008, its main method of helping children is through a Chinese website called “Cradle of Love.” Basically, when a child needed help, we helped the child. The advantage of doing things this way was that we did not require a lot of money and the process was very fast. But every sick child varied in his/her type of diseases, health conditions, check-ups and hospitals. It required a lot of effort and time from our front-line volunteers. In comparison, it’s much more efficient to help sick children with the same illness. 

In the second half of 2009 and beginning of 2010, our organization participated in two fundraising events (AGC and Chase) hosted by Facebook and achieved very good results. Aside from gaining more exposure in America, we won a big prize for children in need. In the first half of 2010, we decided to use a large donation from a Good Samaritan, Mr. Zhang and the prize of $25,000 USD from the Chase Contest to set up a special fund “The Congenital Heart Disease Fund.” 

Countless impoverished children with Congenital Heart Disease
Congenital Heart Disease (CHD) is the number one congenital disease for newborn babies in China, averaging 1 in every 150 babies. Most children could be cured by surgery. Generally speaking, surgery costs less than $30,000 RMB. But many impoverished families just can’t afford it. Their children either died very young or were disabled for life. There are many impoverished sick children who need donations for their surgeries in Henan and Yunnan Province where we carry out our projects.

Collaborating Hospitals
In Henan Province, we chose Zhengzhou No. 7 Hospital as the collaborating hospital for our CHD project based on their vast expertise, charity awareness and low fees. In the last 10 months, more than 50 children whom we helped have finished heart surgeries in No. 7 Hospital. The success rate reached 100%. In Yunnan Province, we plan on choosing Yan-An Hospital, which specializes in cardiovascular diseases in Kunming. At the same time we also help impoverished children with CHD who receive surgeries in Beijing, Tianjin and Shanghai.

Call for Your Help
To realize this goal, so far A Life A Time Foundation is still short of approximately $50,000 - $100,000 dollars. We hope everyone with a loving heart can help our Congenital Heart Disease Fund as much as they can and bring hope to more impoverished and sick children in Henan and Yunnan Provinces.

Rescue Story: Saving girl Huiqun Gui in Yunnan Province

Huiqun Gui was only 5 years old. She lives in a village close to Kunming City in Yunnan Province. Without parents, she lives with her grandparents. What struck our visiting volunteers the most was the lingering sad expression on her face. 

Visiting Huiqun (by our volunteer) :

On November 4, 2010, I finally had a chance to visit the 5 year-old girl, Huiqun Gui with my sister.

We started our journey around noon. We first took a bus to go to her county (Zhanyi County, Qujing City, Yunnan Province.) When we arrived, we asked a few people how to get to the village (Longquan village in Xiping town.) When we arrived there, people told us we could take a bus. A cab driver told us that there was no bus to go there. We had to take a cab. The fare was $20 yuan. We did not think it was very expensive so we went in the cab. Later on we found out that this cab driver was not very familiar with that area. We then took another cab and finally reached Longquan Village. When we went to the village office to ask about the child, they all said that she was an orphan and we should ask the health department. So we went to the health department. A Dr. Wang said he helped the girl apply for our donation. He told us the general situation about this girl.

Huiqun’s father died soon after she was born from drug abuse. A few months later, her mother remarried and she was raised by her grandparents from then on. Her grandparents are about 60 years old this year. Neither of them had good health and life was very difficult. Her grandmother never went to school and mainly took care of Huiqun at home. Her grandfather farmed to feed the family. The mosque in the village donates a few hundred yuan of living expenses every year to her family.

Later Dr. Wang took us to see the child at her school (Huiqun was going to preschool at the time.) When we arrived at her school, we saw a group of kids. As soon as Dr. Wang said we were looking for Huiqun, a kid was asking if she was getting injections and volunteered to get Huiqun. A few minutes later, a very shy girl came downstairs with a large crowd of children.

Huiqun and our volunteer
After we took a few pictures with the children, Dr. Wang took us to see Huiqun’s home. It was a very old single-leveled house. Huiqun and her grandparents lived in one unit and her relatives (including Huiqun’s uncle) lived in two other units. We asked her grandmother if we could take a few pictures, she said of course and kept saying, “Sorry, we made too much trouble for you.” It was very dark in the house (although the picture looked very bright.) The wall was very old and damaged. Downstairs was their living room and kitchen. Upstairs was their bedroom.

After I took the pictures, the grandparents and I chatted briefly, and I had the grandfather sign the application form. Doctor Wang told me that he heard the Grandfather say “when they get the notice for the surgery date, if necessary, they will have to sell the cow.” (I thinking he meant he will sell the cattle if he doesn’t have enough money…)

Around 3pm, my sister and I went back to the city. 

On November 7, 2010, we went to visit Huiqun for the second time to complete some forms.

Going through Surgery
On Sunday, March 20th of 2011, with the arrangement and help of our local volunteers, Huiqun and her grandfather went on a train to Kunming along with another sick child’s family who received our donation. When they reached Kunming that day, volunteers from our organization and from our partner, Angel Heart International, warmly welcomed both families. The next day they took them to Kunming hospital and helped them complete admission.

Before surgery, an Angel Heart volunteer, Huiqun’s grandfather and another sick child we donated to, in Kunming

March 23, the long-awaited Huiqun finally finished her surgery in Yan-an Hospital in Kunming. March 27, 4 days after the surgery, a well-recovered Huiqun could already walk around. Our volunteer wrote, “Today I went to see the two children. The little girl (Huiqun) already finished her surgery and could get off her bed (and walk.) She was jumping around and was very happy like usual. Her face had more color to it. After all the surgery was a huge success! The boy was going to have his surgery soon and was a little nervous, but as a 14 year-old kid, he was very brave already. After I visited the two children, I was in a great mood. I appreciate the contribution people have made towards them. It is Love being passed amongst people! When these two children grow up, they will pass on this love too!” Not long ago, this volunteer told us on the phone, “I realized there were so many children who needed help like little Huiqun. What I could do was extremely limited. It was ok when I didn’t know, but when I found out the existence of these children, it made me feel terrible.” Maybe his thoughts have changed somewhat and maybe sadness was not the only emotion he has experienced.

While bringing love and hope to those who most needed it, we were ourselves filled with more love and hope. This process is very beautiful and magical. We will continue our effort to save more children who can have the same big smile as Huiqun.

Huiqun smiled next to her grandfather after surgery