My friend Amy Eldridge just got back from China with the latest news on Yong. Please read her update below:
The third day of our trip found us waking up in a Buyi minority village in Kaiyung County. 95% of Buyi people live in Guizhou, usually in river valleys. As you can see from the photos, they favor two and three story houses, made of both stone and wood, and walking through the village was a very peaceful experience.
This minority group is known for their rich history of singing and dancing and for their skill in making batik cloth. They prefer wearing blue and black, and both men and women frequently wear head scarves. Corn is a primary food source for their villages, and we saw many families drying it in bundles outside their homes.
As we were driving up the one lane mountain road that day, we passed an elderly man and his wife slowly making their way up a muddy path in the rain. We stopped to offer them a ride, and we learned that they had walked down the mountain early that morning to buy fertilizer for their field. The tiny woman was carrying it on her back in a basket, and I honestly think it weighed more than she did. They told us they were in their eighties, and that their children had left the village to find work.As we drove them several miles up the mountain, we all realized that it would have taken them the better part of the day to walk back to their farm. It was pretty humbling to think about how difficult it must be for them to survive off their land.
After a wonderful lunch at a local tea farm on the mountaintop, we then traveled back down to meet with little Yong, the boy so many of you opened your hearts to back in March. Yong has an extremely rare condition called Congenital Infiltrating Lipomatosis of the Face (CIL-F). Only 50 documented cases have ever been noted. We have been working to help Yong get the medical care he needs, and after falling in love with him through photos, it was incredible to have him greet us in person at his foster home. We had brought him and his foster siblings some small stuffed animals, and Yong immediately counted them to make sure everyone could have one, and then he happily passed them out. Within minutes we could see what a loving and gentle little boy he is, and he took an immediate liking to my niece, planting himself firmly in her lap and playing happily.
Yong’s facial tumor is growing rapidly, and it is quite warm to the touch. His foster mom told us that she feels all of the calories he takes in are now going to feeding it. We are sending him a case of specialized formula right away to try and help him gain some weight before he would undergo surgery. His foster mom said the tumor gets so warm that Yong will lay his head down on the tile floor to try and cool it down. As we sat and talked with Yong and his family, we heard how very much he loves the babies in his home and how very smart he is. That was so obvious to all of us.
Meeting Yong was definitely one of the highlights of this trip, although we of course are so very worried about the growth of the tumor and his decreasing ability to eat solid food. There were lots of discussions on this trip about his surgery plan, and I hope we can announce good news about this beautiful little boy’s future very soon. Something wonderful is in the works, and that is all I can say at the moment. Thank you all for continuing to think of little Yong. I am grateful to everyone who donated to his care, and it is comforting to know that so many people are praying for him.
~Amy Eldridge, Chief Executive Officer