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Showing We Care

26 June 2014

Wriggling, trying to roll over and, just occasionally, flashing a heart-melting smile, Baby Cindy is just like any seven-month-old. Apart from one thing; without a liver transplant she won’t survive.

Today, the BISS Pudong school community made the final donation that will pay for the life-saving surgery, using funds raised from this year’s Summer Festival as well as recent Junior and Middle school events including Busking Day, the Middle School Talent Show and A Night at the Museum. A surprise refund from the Year 13 graduation dinner also added to the amount.

Accompanied by the founder of The Children’s Garden Recover Home, and the charity One Less Orphan, Naomi Kerwin, members of the Community Group visited Baby Cindy and her parents in hospital and deposited 45,500RMB for the surgery. The total cost of the liver transplant, which also includes surgery to harvest part of her mother’s liver, is 120,000RMB, the balance of which was raised through private donations.

Baby Cindy’s story is an all-too-common one. Naomi explains how it unfolded, “I got a phone call the afternoon of June 4th and my friend in Hunan said there was a woman standing in front of her trying to abandon her daughter because the doctors had said she needed a liver transplant in Shanghai.”

The baby was very ill and the orphanage where her mother was trying to leave her was not willing to take her. Naomi’s immediate reaction was to say “send them” and by June 6th, after a long train trip to Shanghai, baby and mother had been admitted to hospital.

A liver transplant is not only an expensive operation, but also relies upon finding a compatible donor. Had Baby Cindy’s mother followed through in abandoning her, the chances that she would be alive today would have been even slimmer.

Creating a system where desperate parents of sick children are given an option to keep them is at the heart of One Less Orphan’s philosophy. Having worked in orphanages for nine years in China, Naomi wants to make a change to the culture. She explains, “I always found it disturbing that there are all these resources for orphans but families don’t get help. My goal is to help families with children with medical needs so they don’t have to abandon their children.”

Helping Baby Cindy is the first step. And it was with great pride that the Community Group members handed over the money needed to finance the liver transplant and keep a family together. Community Group Committee Chair Jane Steele says, “Seeing this little girl makes you think about your own family, and knowing as a whole school community that our charity fundraising can save a life is just wonderful.”

Looking extremely tired yet with tears welling in their eyes, Baby Cindy’s parents graciously accepted the donation of not only the money, but also a BISS Pudong tiger toy. With just a few more administrative and medical hurdles to pass, the baby’s operation should happen within the next couple of weeks.

We will keep everyone posted with Baby Cindy’s progress and wish her and her mum all the best for their upcoming surgery and recovery.