Thursday, March 20, 2008

A Special Gift, for a Special Girl

Two years ago, I met a special teenager from an orphanage in Guangdong. She was sweet and shy, and I remember her gentleness. Her name is Ling, and she is a girl that I have never forgotten.

Last year in March, I saw her again. During our visit, we took the group of teens from her orphanage out for dinner, and I sat at her table. Again, I was impressed by her sweetness. As we were eating, I kept seeing her look at me and then smile a large, beautiful smile. I told her how much I loved her smile and how beautiful it made her. She replied that she was ugly. I told her that I didn’t agree and that I thought that she was very pretty. As I said this, I felt that she didn’t believe me. Ling thought she was ugly because she had strabismus, or a lazy eye. She had been born this way and was very self-conscious of the way she looked.

We asked if we could do surgery to fix her eye as, just like me, many others who had met this incredibly sweet girl wanted to do something to make her feel good about herself. We sent her to the local eye hospital for an exam, and they told us that they could do the surgery. The surgery would correct the way she looked, but it would not be able to improve the vision in her eye. After a little discussion, she decided that she wanted to proceed with the surgery as she wanted her eye fixed. We funded her surgery immediately, because this young woman had not only touched my heart, but the hearts of so many who wanted to give her this special gift.

At the end of January, she was moved for her surgery. We received a photo of her, but it was a photo with her eyes covered by bandages. The doctor told her that she needed to wear these bandages for a month to protect her eyes from infection. This week, we received a very special treat. The new Ling!! I can’t believe the difference!!! I so hope that this will give this beautiful, young woman the confidence to know that she not only has the beauty and sweetness on the inside, but now on the outside too.

I asked our facilitator what Ling thought about her surgery and this is what she said, “She said she was surprised when she saw herself in the mirror, and think she become nicer than before, so she feel thankful for donator's help!”

Next time that I see her, I hope to let her know how beautiful she was and is and have her truly believe me!

Karen Maunu
Medical Director