Yoon is a bright and loving 12-year-old girl. She lives with her mother and uncle in Karen State of Burma near the border with Thailand. She was a student in grade three but stopped studying in August 2020 when she was no longer able to walk. Yoon enjoys painting pictures and reading books. In the future, she wants to go back to school and continue her studies. She helps out her mother with household chores. Her uncle is unemployed whereas her mother is an agricultural day labourer.
One day at home, Yoon fell down when she tried to stand up to go to the bathroom. Her feet felt painful and were pointing downwards. After that, she did not try to stand up again and would move around her house on her knees. Her mother would have to carry her to the bathroom. Due to their financial situation, her mother was not able to seek treatment despite being very worried for her daughter.
Over time, Yoon noticed that her feet were increasingly pointing downwards and were stiff. Her legs would feel painful and were also stiff. Sometimes, she could not stretch out her legs due to feelings of tightness and pain. Her mom shared that she would cry whenever her legs pained, and she would have to wait until the pain lessened by itself. Additionally, her hands began to weaken until she could not hold food with her hands. At the same time, her speech became slurred and her voice became hoarse.
On June 17, Yoon arrived at our medical partner’s care center, Mawlamyine Christian Leprosy Hospital (MCLH), and was admitted that same day. She received a physical examination and was diagnosed with cerebral palsy and tightness of Achilles tendon in both of her legs. The doctor recommended she receive surgery on both of her feet, which would help her walk again, and scheduled the procedure for June 21st. When Yoon’s mother told the doctor that they cannot afford to pay for surgery, the doctor referred Yoon to Burma Children Medical Fund (BCMF) for assistance accessing further treatment.
Our medical partner, BCMF, is requesting $1,500 to cover the cost of an Achilles tendon lengthening procedure for Yoon. This procedure will elongate her Achilles tendon, allowing increased motion at the ankle joint. Without treatment, Yoon’s condition will continue to cause her discomfort and will further limit her movement.
Her mother said, “I cried almost every night when I saw my daughter in this condition. She always cried and complained about her feet. She always asked me to bring her to the hospital to get treatment. Whenever she asked me, I felt very sad and I would cry in secret. I want her to get treatment, but I cannot afford to pay for it. Due to COVID-19 and the current fighting in Burma, I cannot make enough money or save it. Often, I would only eat fishpaste and rice, but give her meat so that she can have something nutritious. When I heard that she has donors who will help her receive treatment, I felt very happy and thankful to BCMF for this kindness. I never thought she would receive such an opportunity. It makes me so happy that I do not know how to express it in words.”