Thousands of children in Vietnam younger than five years of age suffer from heart disease. Children’s heart disease is the most common birth defect globally and 90% of the children born in developing countries have no access to the care they need. With labored breathing and lack of energy, these children
are not able to attend school and run around and play like other children. Many are stuck in hospital beds spending all their energy on taking their next breath. Even if a child has access to the care they need, too often the family can’t afford to pay the medical expenses. For those who never receive heart surgery, a lifetime of a weak heart and poor health takes a toll, and many children are unable to complete their education. This means that as adults, they are often confined to physical labor roles which are extremely taxing on their health, or unable to work at all.
This was the fate facing one teenage girl, Kieu, before MEDRIX intervened and provided sponsorship for heart surgery. We’d like to share her story with you today to illustrate the true long-term impact that heart surgery sponsorship can have. Healthy lives open the door to education and hope, and your donations have truly made an impact in the lives of the children we’ve sponsored for surgery in Vietnam. While the story shared below is from several years ago, the underlying impact will be the same for the kids that receive surgery today.
Kieu was 16 years old when she underwent life changing heart surgery in 2011. Kieu was devastated by her diagnosis of having pulmonary arterial hypertension–she was becoming more and more exhausted and unable to keep up with her school work and her 11 km commute to school (by bike!). She underwent corrective surgery, but didn’t return to school right away due to continued exhaustion. This is very normal for people recovering from heart surgery, and strength needs to be gradually built up again. Her mother, fearing that school would be too difficult for Kieu, was hesitant to have her return. MEDRIX provides sponsorship on the condition that the child will be allowed to return to school and complete their education; when we learned about Kieu’s mother’s fears, we intervened to find a solution. It was agreed that Kieu would receive bike rides from classmates until her strength returned. Today Kieu is a 21 year old student at Hue Medical College in Hue, Vietnam, studying to be a pharmacist! None of this would have been possible without the generosity of MEDRIX donors.
This is just one out of 70 individual stories of people that MEDRIX has sponsored for life-saving heart surgery over the years. Each person has their own dreams, ambitions and passions that simply cannot be achieved with congenital heart defects and poor health. Your gift to provide heart surgery sponsorship goes beyond merely providing the surgery: it impacts the opportunities and lifestyles of children and young adults exponentially. We sincerely thank you for your support and for your investment in the future of MEDRIX and the people that we serve in Vietnam.