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20 Years of Hope: Oliver

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Baby Oliver was born with Down syndrome in 2016, and his little heart was failing. Hope was also failing for his devoted parents as they tirelessly sought treatment for their beloved son.

Oliver and his impoverished family touched many hearts in the LWB community when we ran a series of blogs on him and his heartbreaking medical situation. Below is one of the first photos that many of us saw of Oliver and his mother.

Serious mom and her baby with Down syndrome wearing a yellow hat

Those blue lips tell a tale of a very sick heart, breathing distress and frequent coughing fits.

Hospital after hospital turned Oliver down for heart surgery. His family was very poor and already heavily in debt due to Oliver’s medical bills. They simply couldn’t afford the operation that he desperately needed. And sadly, hospitals did not want to take the case because of Oliver’s extra chromosome.

Baby in a bright yellow winter hat

Over and over, Oliver’s family was told that they should take their son home to die. Thankfully, our China Director in the region learned of their plight, and asked our medical team if we could help. Because he did not want to unnecessarily raise her hopes, he said that he would only call Oliver’s mother if we were 100% committed to Oliver’s care. We knew our Unity Initiative supporters would rally around this precious boy and give him his second chance at life, so the call was made.

In tears, Oliver’s mother confessed that they had been worried that they would have to give up their son to the care of an orphanage, in hopes that he could receive medical treatment there. We couldn’t let that happen. Our generous community helped raise the funds needed to completely cover his surgery and medical costs. The entire extended family was elated at the news!

Chinese grandparents and mom surround a baby boy in a quilted snowsuit

Oliver’s family brought him to Shanghai for a number of tests to determine if he was operable. The cardiac surgeons at Children’s Hospital of Fudan University gave us the wonderful news that Oliver qualified for surgery, with a 95% chance for a full recovery!

The next step was a frightening one for Oliver’s family, but it was a vital chapter in his story of hope.

The operation took seven hours instead of the expected five because Oliver’s blood vessels were very difficult to repair. In the weeks after surgery, his surgeons tried over and over to remove him from the ventilator, but he wasn’t yet ready to breathe on his own. We were all so worried about him!

Baby boy lying in hospital bed with tubes

After nearly a month in the ICU, Oliver’s ventilator was finally removed, and he was moved to the regular pediatric ward to continue his recovery. His mother was over the moon that her son would finally have the chance for a healthy life. Don’t you love the look of those PINK lips and the smile on Momma’s face?

Smiling baby boy and woman upon discharge from the hospital

Oliver finally returned home, to be greeted with a loving smooch from his big sister.

Baby boy in a stroller and his mom kissing

Fast-forward five years, and our China Director was able to visit Oliver and his family. Now nearly seven years old, Oliver is an active and energetic child. No longer blue and weak, he can dance about and even jump with little effort. As you can see, he is a happy little guy! Oliver attends a pre-school for children with special needs, and he is learning to draw and recognize Chinese characters.

Little boy and mom smiling and giving the peace sign

Oliver’s mother and grandparents expressed their huge thanks to the amazing donors who saved Oliver’s life.

Chinese family with a little boy smiling outside

This is the kind of wonderful outcome that YOU make possible when you support our work around the world. We are blessed to have such amazing supporters!

Young boy in a jean jacket with a fur collar giving the peace sign
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