Di Par is a 14-year-old boy who lives with his mother and three brothers in Burma. He enjoys playing marbles, snapping rubber bands with his younger brothers, listening to music, and visiting with his friends. Di Par enjoys school, but he is only in grade five since his health condition makes it difficult for him to keep up with his classes.
Di Par did not present with symptoms until he was five years old. He was easily tired, especially after playing, but his mother did not think it was out of the ordinary and did not seek medical attention for him. When Di Par was 10 years old, the symptoms worsened as he began having difficulty breathing in addition to the fatigue. His mother took him to the clinic where they listened to his heart and detected abnormal heart sounds. He was prescribed medication that seemed to improve his condition, so his mother did not seek further evaluation.
In March of 2016, Di Par appeared to go into shock and lost consciousness, and he was brought to the hospital. Although a definitive diagnosis was not made, the physicians thought Di Par might have meningitis and treated him medically. While he was in the hospital, he received a battery of exams: blood tests, urinalysis, CT scan, and X-rays. He also received an echocardiogram, which provided the diagnosis of congestive heart disease — severe tricuspid regurgitation with severe pulmonary stenosis. Di Par was in the hospital for 12 days, and family members helped his mother and brothers pay the hospital costs.
Since his hospitalization, Di Par has been experiencing palpitations, fatigue, and difficulty breathing. He is at Mae Tao Clinic (MTC) in the children’s inpatient department. He is also cyanotic with a bluish tinge to his lips and fingers. After evaluation by the medics at MTC, he was referred to Burma Children Medical Fund for surgical consideration.
Di Par and his family have lived in their current village for three months; they moved there to be closer to his mother’s sister and to improve chances for employment. Di Par’s father passed away several years ago, so the family’s financial support comes from his mother, who sells vegetables and flowers in the market, and his older brother, who works as a day laborer. Despite their hard work, the money they earn does not cover daily expenses, savings, or health care costs. His mother has to borrow money at 10 percent interest to meet those costs and is currently in debt.
Di Par’s mother is very concerned about him, as he is falling further and further behind with his studies and, more importantly, his condition is becoming more severe. His mother and older brother alternate caring for Di Par, and his younger brothers help with family chores. This arrangement has not yet affected their work schedules, but Di Par’s condition will only complicate the family’s needs as further care is needed.
For $1,500, Di Par will undergo surgery to replace the damaged heart valve and restore proper blood flow through his heart and lungs. Funding also covers the cost of 12 pre- and post-operative consultations, transportation to and from the hospital, and nine days of hospital care after surgery.
Di Par’s mother looks forward to a successful operation for her son. “My son enjoys teaching his brothers,” she shares, “so when he grows up, he may become a teacher in the village.”