Vicheka is the eldest of two children in her family and loves her younger sister who is three years old. Their family lives in Preah Vihear near the Thai border of Cambodia. Her father is a soldier and her mother is a potato farmer. At school, she is fond of math and Khmer literature and would like to be a teacher when she is older. She likes reading books, painting, playing with her little sister, and taking walks with her parents.
When Vicheka was five, she was diagnosed with scoliosis of the spine—a sideways curvature of the spine that most often is diagnosed in adolescents. She has uneven shoulders, a bump in her lower back, difficulty standing up straight, and shortness of breath. It has become difficult for her to breathe, she tires easily, and she is having difficulty walking. This can be very difficult for young girls, they are often hidden at home because other children make fun of the way they look.
A neighbor told her parents about our medical partner Children’s Surgical Centre, so they traveled over 10 hours for a diagnosis and surgery. Surgeons plan to put in expanding rods along her spine. The expanding rods will allow her to grow and keep her spine from curving further, which could cause her more health problems if left untreated. Their family needs $1,500 for the surgery, which will cover medications, implants, and post-operative care.
Vicheka said, “I hope the doctors can fix my spine so I can play with my friends and my back will be straight. I want to continue in school but it is hard for me to keep up, and I miss school.”