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Christians' Actions Saved Mongolian Orphan with Brain Tumor

( [email protected] ) Dec 21, 2009 02:05 PM EST
A Mongolian girl, who was diagnosed with less than four months more to live last month, received surgery in Hong Kong to remove a golf ball sized tumor from her brain last week.
Christian Action executive director Cheung Ang Siew-mei holds on to Douge Zhuoma, who said she missed the children at the Qinghai orphanage and the food there while waiting to receive surgery. Christian Action

A Mongolian girl, who was diagnosed with less than four months more to live last month, received surgery in Hong Kong to remove a golf ball sized tumor from her brain last week.

According to South China Morning Post’s report, she left the intensive care unit of Prince of Wales Hospital after recovering from six hours of brain surgery on Friday of Dec. 12.

Douge Zhuoma, 15, has been living at the Huangnan Children’s Home, an orphanage jointly run by a Qinghai county government and Christian Action, a Hong Kong-based charity. After their mother died and their father left them, Douge and her younger sister, Zhuode Laimao, were sent there in 2006 because their grandmother, their closet kin, was too old and weak to care for them, reported SCMP.

Christian Action executive director Cheung Ang Siew-mei told SCMP that Douge was popular at the home and had been head of her dormitory and a great help to staff and other children.

“Both staff and the children are very fond of Douge,” she said, according to SCMP.

But last month, Douge suffered from severe headache which developed into a complete paralysis. For a brief period she slipped into a coma.

Scans at the Qinghai Red Cross hospital revealed a 6cm tumor. Doctors concluded that surgery and chemotherapy is unlikely to help her. They said she has less than four months to live. Three other hospitals confirmed their diagnosis.

But Christian Action’s Cheung spoke of Douge’s plight in her blog, asking the readers to pray for her and her staffs as they explore help for the children.

Honorary clinical assistant professor Dr Danny Wong Hoi-tung said he was on vacation when he read Cheung’s blog. “We can’t give up without trying our best,” he told the Morning Post.

Two weeks ago, Cheung brought Douge to Prince of Wales Hospital, and she went into surgery overseen by Wong and Dr Zhu Xian-lun, honorary clinical association professor.

After the surgery, Chair professor of neurosurgery Poon Wai-sang, who was also involved in the case, said the surgery was successful and subsequent tests had shown that Douge’s tumor, which he described as cystic pilocytic astrocytoma, was benign, meaning that the chance of a relapse is small, reported SCMP.

Cheung said in her latest blog post that a total of HK$138,700 was raised through donations, which will be applied to Douge’s bill of HK$135,000 and the remaining amount will be applied to a Cairen, a seven-year-old boy who is from the same orphanage as Douge is suffering from hydrocephalus. Immediate medical treatment is required.

While his head measures up to 70cm and he cannot hold it up independently, the only hospital that has the specialization to treat him is Beijing Tian Tian Hospital. But just transporting him there is a challenge.

Cheung requested for the same amount of compassion and care for Cairen as given to Douge in prayers and donations.

When asked of what Douge wants to do with the rest of her life, Cheung said that she wants to be a doctor, according to the Morning Post.

Christian Action is a Hong Kong based non-profit organization established in 1985. Their mission is to help the poor and disadvantaged in Hong Kong and Mainland China with particular emphasis upon displaced persons, irrespective of race, sex, religion or nationality.

To date, they have built 453 winter homes for poor families in Qinghai and constructed 9 primary schools which service more than 1,700 students each year.

For more information, go to Siew Mei's weekly blog.