4000 Kids and Tears

Dear our valuable supporters and friends,
Today, 17 April 2015, the Heartbeat Vietnam program surpasses the milestone of 4000 children saved. We have been waiting for so long to share this good news to you with our limitless gratitude for the great support you have done for the kids.
Today should be dedicated to joy, and joy only. But, for the last few days, our team has been drowning in confusion, in which we do not know what to do, or where to go next. I write to you in the feeling of choking myself up. I wish my tears could be only for this happiness. But deep down, I know that is also fear.
This fear has never strike me for the last 4 years, and I wish I will never encounter it for the second time. I am fearful that the 201 newly discovered kids will never have a chance. I fear that I have to live in torment and regret all over again because we have found the children too fast to call for enough funding.
My 10 years with Heartbeat Vietnam helps me deeply understand that the safest way of doing this job is we accept the cases only if we know we have raised enough money for them. But we cannot wait. We lost children because we did not decide quickly enough, even if it was just one day or one week late. Once there was a child who had passed away before our team called his parents to bring him to the hospital for surgery. Such cases urge us to make the children’s life first and foremost priority. We were always on the race in every process. That ethic did work so well last year when everything required got ready for the kids. After one fundraising night we could send hundreds of them to hospitals. By end of the year, 547 children were saved.
We do desire to repeat the miracle in 2015. In just over the first three months, we sent outreach clinics to 5 provinces, finding 117 children with heart defects. 52 of them have been submitted to HBVN and their profiles are sent to the hospitals to be scheduled for operations. These children will be saved with our last amount of fund, which means we do not have a penny left for the 53th one. We cannot accept any profile since tomorrow. And, ironically, we already have 201 ones sent to us as at today.
Dear all supporters and friends,
Every kid we find in a remote district is a piece of happiness. We are happy because we know at least that kid will not die forgotten, or not knowing which disease he had. We look into the eyes of his parents and see hope glittering. They lay all their hope on us, so we are impossible to not promise them that we will try anything to help the child survive. Therefore, the 201 waiting children becomes our largest fear. We cannot even think what our coming days would be with more profiles going to arrive at our door.
The lifeless three digits 2, 0 and 1 would not evoke any pain, but encountering one life by one life does. Only if I had not come to Ha Tinh province and, in that sad afternoon, had not met the Hung and Phuc brothers, 6 and 4, both were weakened by heart diseases. Their sketchy house was damp and old, inside of which their grandma, over 70, had to take care of the brothers and their mentally ill grandpa. The father had went to the South to be a construction worker, and the mother was a housemaid in Hanoi, both were thriftily saving money to buy medicine for two elders and two kids. I knew hard though they tried, they were surely desperate. They could never earn enough money for a hundred million dong surgery for the boys.

Among the lifeless 201 number above was Ly, the girl with bright eyes we visited at her small home on the hill of Thanh Chuong district, Nghe An province. She was a tiny 6 months old whose sick heart had been diagnosed when she was 2 months. Her situation turned so bad: the pulmonary hypertension could cost her life if there were no surgery to save her soon. Several weeks before, her father had an accident and had been diagnosed with cerebral haemorrhage. The young mother was struggling to sell all chicken and cows of the household to seek treatment for her dear family. She was sitting in front of me, telling me about her uncertain future while my tears were falling and I was literally breaking into pieces.

We cannot choose anyone in these 201 lives, since each one is equally priceless. Everything these kids ever need is a normal heart, which all of we already were born with. And, who are we to claim our right to select any child and give up on the rest?
Suddenly, I am full of fear. I don’t know what would happen when our devoted doctors continue to find all of the kids undiscovered in all 63 provinces. I do not know what would it be come when thousands of profiles, each of them as tragic as the others, lying on our desks. There is no coincidence that every family coming to, or found by us, is so poor. Heart disease is a kind of sickness that if the parents could find any way at any cost to save their kids, they would have done it. The rest, the poorest and most desperate ones, are waiting hopelessly as their kids die slowly. Because they do not have any strength left to move on, they are in need of help. That is the reason for such a long journey we have restlessly made together. Hard though it is, we always remember that we have to go on as long as we have our love for the children. We save the 4006th one today, but everything begins all over again with the 4007th one.
And, we are reminded of the mission of Heartbeat Vietnam from the very start: We do everything we are capable of, so that one day there would be no more child died because of not having a needed surgery. This mission will complete if we have enough fund for outreach clinics in all 63 provinces and for at least 2000 surgeries a year. Only with this speed does the number of kids died from heart diseases would decrease and all the new born ones would get diagnosing and treatment at the early stage. I know this is just like a daydream, and calling for fund for 500 kids per year has been too much for all of us. Yet still I believe in dream: if you dare to dream for happiness and life for people, the heavens will listen. You will be accompanied with friends and helpers.
When I close my eyes in this very moment, I think of your sharing thanks to which over 4000 children have been able to be alive again, over 4000 families revives, over 4000 smiles are shining, over 4000 hearts are beating again, and that also means over 4000 futures. I am overwhelmed with gratitude and will remember the help from each of you. Your donation has been for the saving of 1, 2, 5, 10, 30, 100, and even 1000 lives in all these years. Once again, please do continue. Please save 201 newly found lives. Please be with us in the long journey ahead since EVERY LIFE IS PRICELESS.
Your every USD1000 will be one more child in this long list having surgery.
Thank you a thousand times. My best wishes of health and happiness for you and your loved ones.

With warmest regards,
Bich Chau
Heartbeat Vietnam

P/s: The list of 201 children is HERE

Hung – Phuc and their grandparents


Baby Ly, 6 months old