Chi­nese and Amer­i­can doc­tors join hands to fix young hearts

China Daily (Canada) - - ACROSSAMERICA - By MAY ZHOU in Hous­ton mayzhou@chi­nadai­lyusa.com

AQZ Char­ity Foun­da­tion (AQZ), a group ded­i­cated to help­ing chil­dren with con­gen­i­tal heart dis­ease from poor fam­i­lies in China, was launched in Hous­ton on Wed­nes­day night.

AQZ is a branch of Bei­jing Qu Zheng Char­ity Foun­da­tion (BQZ), a Chi­nese char­ity founded by Dr Qu Zheng, vice-pres­i­dent of China Mei­tan Gen­eral Hosp­tial and for­mer vis­it­ing pro­fes­sor at the Texas Heart In­sti­tute.

Founders of AQZ in­clude Dr Feng Jian­wei, chair­man of the heart and vas­cu­lar in­sti­tute at Me­mo­rial Her­mann Hospi­tal in Hous­ton; Dr Li Hu­song, as­so­ciate pro­fes­sor at the Med­i­cal School of the Univer­sity of Texas in Galve­ston and Qu.

Feng said AQZ will fo­cus on treat­ing chil­dren with con­ge­nial heart dis­ease be­cause mil­lions of Chi­nese chil­dren are suf­fer­ing from this ill­ness with­out fi­nan­cial means of get­ting treat­ment.

“If this con­di­tion is cor­rected at a young age, the child can grow up to be a nor­mal con­tribut­ing mem­ber of so­ci­ety. If the treat­ment op­por­tu­nity is missed at young age, the pa­tient would later suf­fer in growth and many die young. We try to fo­cus on the most cru­cial point of cur­ing this dis­ease,” Feng ex­plained.

Qu, who ini­ti­ated the pro­gram in Bei­jing, said dur­ing his past char­ity work he re­al­ized that many spon­sors pre­fer one-on-one re­la­tion­ships with the pa­tients, that is, each spon­sor chooses a child to sup­port. To fa­cil­i­tate such ef­forts, he for­mally es­tab­lished BZQ in May 2012. “We have treated more than 100 chil­dren since then. We have four co­op­er­at­ing hos­pi­tals na­tion­wide now, and will ex­pand to more than 10 soon.”

Li fur­ther ex­plained that spon­sors dic­tate the terms of how and where the do­na­tion is used. BQZ and AQZ will pro­vide a pa­tient list for spon­sors to choose from, the process is trans­par­ent and 100 per­cent of all do­na­tions will be used for treat­ment with no ad­min­is­tra­tive cost.

Lo Bowen, CFO of RIGID Global Build­ings, is the first Hous­to­nian to spon­sor a case. “I went to visit my rel­a­tives in Bei­jing last year and Dr Qu asked me if I was will­ing to spon­sor a lit­tle girl who needed such treat­ment. I said yes. The oper­a­tion was a suc­cess and I vis­ited her and her fam­ily later. They were very happy and it makes me feel very good to see my money has made such an im­pact on some­one else’s life,” said Lo.

Ac­cord­ing to Qu, the aver­age cost for an oper­a­tion to cor­rect con­ge­nial heart dis­ease in China ranges from $4,000 to $8,000 with an aver­age cost of $5,000. “There are more com­pli­cated and ex­pen­sive cases, but we fo­cus on treat­ment in this cost range,” Qu said.

Chi­nese Con­sul Yang Song and Gao Hua at­tended the event. Yang praised the doc­tors’ ef­forts to help the vul­ner­a­ble pop­u­la­tion in China, “I am very happy to see this char­ity work spread from Bei­jing to Hous­ton. This is the em­bod­i­ment of the tra­di­tional Chi­nese virtue and Western val­ues of uni­ver­sal love.”

At the evening’s end, five com­pa­nies and seven­teen in­di­vid­u­als opened their pock­ets and do­nated a to­tal of $48,450 to AZQ, enough to treat ap­prox­i­mately 10 chil­dren.

MAY ZHOU / CHINA DAILY

Chi­nese Con­sul for Cul­tural Af­fairs in Hous­ton Yang Song (left) un­veils the AZQ Char­ity Foun­da­tion plaque at the cer­e­mony with Li Hu­song (sec­ond from left), Feng Jian­wei (sec­ond from right) and Qu Zheng (right).

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