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WenShan, Yunnan Province, China, August 12, 2016
By: Mr. Lu Jiaming
Project HOPE volunteer in China

I have a lovely daughter; she is cheerful and lively, bright and beautiful. The birth of my daughter gave my family and me a lot of joy and happiness. We felt content, and our home was a happy place. People were saying to us that it was good fortune to have a child when you are at an old age; in fact, as a middle-aged person, I was very lucky to have my daughter. I also felt that my daughter was a blessing, and we were gratified by being around her.

However, when you are immersed with joy and contentment, fate sometimes leads you in another direction. We found out that our little girl suffered a seizure when she was about a year and a half old. At that time, she had the flu with a high fever, and then she had a convulsion. Subsequently, she has had seizures every six months to one year. The diagnosis of epilepsy was confirmed by numerous hospital visits. This diagnosis was a hard hit to our family!

After years of clinical treatment at the Wenshan People's Hospital pediatric neurology department, my daughter’s condition was finally well controlled. But as a parent, my understanding of epilepsy was really limited. I didn't know how to care for her at times; I didn't know how to regulate her diet; and I didn't know what signs or symptoms might occur before the onset of a seizure. In short, I was not familiar with the disease.

While we were having a lot of headaches during our daughter's epilepsy therapy and didn't knowing what to do, we heard that Project HOPE, Kunming Children’s Hospital and Wenshan Hospital were going to host the Rainbow Bridge Summer Education Weekend for children with epilepsy. We registered for the Education Weekend immediately.

Project HOPE staff in China

We met many families and about a dozen children from Wenshan counties at the Summer Education Weekend. Many of these families and children are ethnic minorities and came from far away, remote counties of the Wenshan District. It was a delightful experience for us to make new friends and meet people from Project HOPE and Kunming Children’s Hospital. I was grateful to be with these people who also care about children with epilepsy. My mood improved greatly! This two-day Summer Education Weekend, led by psychological experts, medical professionals, and people who brought cheers to children made the weekend a special experience for the families and children. The games and drawing activities benefitted the children's physical and mental health. The lectures presented by Dr. Li, Li-Jun from Kunming Children’s Hospital and Dr. Lu from Wenshan People’s Hospital to address epilepsy relayed knowledge to the parents that was very useful and helpful to us. These lectures guided us to better understand the treatment for the disease and the importance of following the treatment regimen. We felt thankful that these two-day activities were free of charge because they included two days of accommodations and meals. This arrangement was especially helpful to the people who came from remote, economically-deprived areas of Wenshan District. All of the parents who participated in the event expressed their heartfelt thanks to the organizers and experts of the Summer Education Weekend, especially to Project HOPE, Kunming Children’s Hospital, and Wenshan People’s Hospital.

Project HOPE at Wenshan Hospital in China

Through this activity, we understood that epilepsy is not a terrible event. With the support of modern medical technology, it can be controlled completely, and in some cases even cured. Also, the Summer Education Weekend lectures let us know how to follow up with physicians for the long-term management of epilepsy in children. In addition, we had a better overall understanding of the treatment of epilepsy in children. The lectures taught us how to manage the daily life of a child with epilepsy. In sum, the two-day Summer Education Weekend taught us quite a lot.

In the end, I humbly wish to extend to all friends and organizers of the Rainbow Bridge Summer Education Weekend a heartfelt thanks for providing us with an unforgettable learning weekend in WenShan.

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