Hangzhou is truly one of the most beautiful cities in China. West Lake and the parks surrounding it create such picturesque scenery. We arrived in Hangzhou to visit Zhejiang University Children’s Hospital where the famous Dr. Li performs heart surgeries. Flowers were in full bloom - magnolias, plums, and cherry trees lined the beautiful West Lake. The city of Hangzhou seemed so welcoming.
Dr. Li and Dr. Qiu, a fellow who will soon be promoted to staff surgeon, greeted us at the airport. After a quick lunch on the lake, we arrived at Zhejiang University Children’s Hospital. Here we were met with a national television crew and many of Dr. Li’s colleagues. They took us to a conference room where we were interviewed and introduced to the director of the hospital. We discussed the relationship between Love Without Boundaries and their hospital and how we would like to continue this relationship into the future. The hospital director pledged to give us a 20% discount and give every child we send to them the absolute best care.
After our meeting, we were taken on a hospital tour. First, we were taken to the ward and were able to see two our of heart babies. One of these babies, a little girl, had just had a pacemaker put in and the other, a little boy, was scheduled to have heart surgery the next day. Both of these children were adorable. The little girl tried hard to be happy, even though she had just had surgery hours before. She was just so sweet! Tracie had one stuffed animal left in her bag, and we agreed it was a very fitting one to give her as it had a big red heart on it. The little boy was absolutely adorable. He just cooed and gave us the biggest smiles, and we loved knowing that in the morning he would be having his life changing surgery.
Next, we were taken into the ICU where most of our heart children go after surgery. Dr. Tang, the doctor in charge of this unit, was so very kind and asked us about many of the children they had helped. One of these little babies was baby Li, who had been in ICU on a ventilator for two months. This miracle child had touched all of them. Lori had her computer in her backpack and pulled it out so they could all see updated pictures of Li. We had all of the ICU staff huddled around the computer to see updated photos. You could see how they all genuinely cared about the children as they oohed and aahed over every picture.
Then we were taken on a tour of the operating rooms. We donned scrubs, hats, masks, and booties. We were able to see a couple of surgeries in progress and then were able to see their cardiac ORs. They were spotless and had state of the art equipment. It was fun to think that so many of our children were healed here. Last year, this hospital helped 60 of our heart children.
Soon it was time to say our goodbyes to all of the wonderful people we met. This hospital truly has a heart for the kids. We learned that not only does the director support the work that we do, but is also very compassionate to the poor. I just love that fact that our children are given the best medical treatment and the tender loving care of their staff.
Dr. Li took us on a brief tour of their scenic spots, on our way to the airport. We walked along the lake, looking out at the boats, the pagodas, and the mountains. The views we had reminded us of postcards, as we saw so many beautiful sights. Dr. Li also took us on a short walk though a bamboo forest. He taught us how you can tell the age of bamboo and about the many different kinds of bamboo. The bamboo forest was so peaceful and I can understand why he comes here often.
When it was time to leave Hangzhou, Dr. Li accompanied us to the airport and helped us check in. We had schlepped our large suitcases all over China and had given a few of them names (like big Bertha). Dr. Li thought this was so funny and helped us to name the rest of them. As he was helping us with our suitcases, we told him to be very careful, because we wanted to protect his precious hands. He needed to be ready for our baby’s surgery in the morning. We all had such a hard time saying goodbye to this sweet, kind man.
Soon we were in Beijing and were met by Robin Hill of New Hope Foundation. I couldn’t wait to return to their home and see our babies in our Heartbridge Unit. Our unit had been has been in operation since October has made such a difference to so many critically ill babies. This unit has nine beds and has been set up to help children pre and post surgery.
After a comfortable nights' rest and a delicious breakfast, we began our tour. The babies in the Heartbridge Unit were absolutely precious. Baby Li, the baby that the Zhejiang University Children’s Hospital staff had huddled around the computer to see, was the first baby that we all laid our eyes on. This baby was just SO precious and is thriving. You would have never known that this child was so very sick just months ago and fought to live. He had a very serious heart and lung problem and truly is a miracle. We just all loved cuddling him. Another baby who has been in our hearts was baby Yang. This baby has many serious heart defects, but she is such a fighter. She has just had the first of many heart surgeries, but is also thriving. What an absolutely adorable baby!
We were also able to see the rest of New Hope Foundation and some of the other children we have sent to them. Joyce and Robin have such high standards and love for the children. The beautiful babies were all adorable and we all had so much fun cuddling and playing with them all. A visit to their relaxing and peaceful home was such a wonderful way to end our trip.
I am always so sad leaving China, as it feels like my home away from home. There are so many kind and compassionate people working together to help children, that it is just so hard to say goodbye. Plus, there are just so many beautiful babies to hold! During our trip, we have received many new children to help. Please check our medical sponsorship page to see their beautiful faces. We are just so happy that we are able to work together with the wonderful people in China to make a difference for every one of these children. Thanks again to everyone who helps to change the lives of these children. We couldn't do it without you!