Created: 2006-9-18, Updated: 2006-9-17 21:42:29
WANG Mang could have died at any minute if he hadn't undergone heart surgery in Toronto's Sick Children's Hospital, sponsored by the Huaqiao Foundation two years ago.
The 13-year-old from Fengyang, Anhui Province, was born with a complex congenital heart problem. His father died from AIDS due to a tainted blood transfusion when the boy was just a few months old.
"I don't remember much of my father," the boy said in an interview with Shanghai Daily. "All I do remember is that people in the village seldom came by and talked to us."
Born with a weak heart, Wang couldn't run and jump like the other boys of his age. Even taking a few steps made him short of breath.
Since he was the family's only male, his mother was desperate to save him when they had saved enough money to go to the hospital.
When Wang was eight, doctors of Hefei Hospital of Anhui Province said the boy wouldn't live to be 10 without heart surgery. But the hospital could not perform it because of limited facilities and poor conditions.
Refusing to give up, his mother took him to Shanghai Chest Hospital. But the 40,000 yuan (US$5,024) for surgery was far beyond the family's reach. Luckily, someone at the hospital introduced her to Frank Yih, chairman of the Huaqiao Foundation, whose "Gift of Life" program funds surgery for children with critical congenital heart problems.
A more careful examination was conducted under Professor Pan Chih and Chen Qun, chief surgeon of the Pediatric World of Shanghai Chest Hospital. Wang Mang was diagnosed with a serious disease beyond the capability of the hospital.
"This was quite unexpected," Yih said, "but we were determined to save the poor boy's life."
As a member of the Shanghai Rotary Club, Yih worked with Rotary International, seeking Western hospitals that would admit Wang Mang for open-heart surgery, with reasonable confidence of success.
In October 2004, Toronto Sick Children's Hospital investigated Wang's condition and decided to admit him for surgery.
In November 2004, Wang and his mother flew to Canada. The operation was successful and they flew back to Shanghai in January 2005.
Asked about Toronto, the timid boy said, "I don't remember much of the surgery things. "But I did remember the happy smile on my mother's face."
Wang Mang is the 10th lucky kid with congenital heart disease to be sponsored by the Huaqiao Foundation since 2004.
To Frank Yih, saving the lives of children is not enough. He is right in saying that education is another determinant of a child's future.
Published on ShanghaiDaily.com (http://www.shanghaidaily.com/)